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Perth pastors plan to tackle disorder

Street pastors have become a familiar sight in big towns and cities in England and could soon be playing a role on the streets of Scotland.

The aim of the pastors, in their distinctive navy jackets and baseball caps, is to help reduce disorder in troubled areas.

The volunteer patrols tour the bars and clubs until the early hours of the morning, talking to people and providing a calming presence in a bid to quash any trouble and make the areas safer.

Now the scheme is heading north of the border for the first time and Perth could be the first Scottish city to bring in street pastors.

The man behind the drive is retired accountant and apprentice minister Michael Archibald.

A member of the city’s North Church, Mr Archibald first heard about the scheme from a fellow congregation member and felt it was something that was badly needed in Perth.

He said: “People don’t automatically think of Perth as being a rough place and it’s quite nice during the day but in certain areas it’s not very nice at night.

“On the weekends it’s thick with people in Mill Street and they’re all pouring out of the pubs across the road and the nightclubs and there is a lot of action.

“Apart from that there are about four or five gangs in Perth, so it’s not the quiet wee backwater that people might think.”

The idea for the street pastors originated in Jamaica when churches joined forces to take their values into the streets and tackle the growing tide of gang culture, guns, drugs and violence.

Full story at BBC Scotland News.

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