MEMBERS of the police force need support just like the rest of society, according to an experienced member of the Dorset Police’s chaplaincy team.

Rev Simon Evans, vicar of Ensbury Park, has been involved with police forces for 25 years, initially with the Metropolitan Police before moving to Bournemouth and taking on a role with Dorset Police 12 years ago.

In that time Rev Evans has been on hand for anyone in the force if they are looking for support and someone to talk to, whether they have religious beliefs or not.

He said his work as a police chaplain is similar in many ways to his role as a vicar in the parish.

“It is all about being there for people and trying to support them whatever is going on in their lives,” Rev Evans said.

“I grew up in a police family, my father was a police sergeant, so I have seen the stresses from the inside in a way.

“Police officers and staff are still ordinary people so they go through the same range of life experiences, but perhaps because of the role and demands placed on them the pressure can be a bit great at times.

“We are there to help as is the case with chaplaincies in other emergency services and armed forces.

“We are not there to impose our faith or to try to convert people. The police services provide great welfare support for all their staff and we work in partnership with them.”

Alongside supporting members of the force, the chaplaincy team, which is currently made up of 10 religious leaders from across the county, organise events including a carol service and to mark Remembrance Day.

“I think more people in the force are aware of the chaplaincy scheme now as it has been rolled out nationally,” Rev Evans added.

“It is difficult to say if we are needed more now. The issues of life remain the same for everyone.

“I think police officers are dealing with an increased workload now and in fact this has growing for a some time, which I think brings its own pressures.”