A celebratory service has been held at Merseyside Police Headquarters to welcome the new lead chaplain, Claire Henderson Davis, to the force.
The service was attended by Chief Constable Andy Cooke, the Rt Revd Paul Bayes, Bishop of Liverpool and the Rt Revd Tom Williams, Assistant RC Bishop of Liverpool, along with other members of the force.
Speaking during the service Claire Henderson Davis addressed how she hopes to develop the chaplaincy service, making sure it meets the needs of all who use it. She said: “There is no point in having a chaplaincy service that is not relevant to you. I aim to develop an understanding of the highs and lows, stresses and strains and what motivates people to do their job”.
She also recognises that it can often be unclear what the chaplaincy service is and who it is for: “There is a widespread belief that chaplains exist mainly to talk about religious concerns, and many people have never spoken to a chaplain, don’t know who they are or what they do.” In her new position, she aims to clarify the role of a chaplain, pointing out, first and foremost, they provide: “a listening ear when life is getting you down, and to rejoice in your successes”.
Claire’s past experience will assist her in this position, speaking after the ceremony, she explained: “I have a PhD in Theology and I’ve also worked in public engagement ministry in many communities. In addition to that, I have supported people in need as a psychotherapist and have worked on placements in the NHS which helped me build vital relationships with people”.
Chief Constable Andy Cooke emphasised the importance of having a support service in a high-demand work environment. He said: “It’s crucial to have someone vibrant, who will care, listen and provide support for staff”.
The Merseyside Police Chaplaincy Service is made up of six volunteer chaplains alongside lead chaplain, Claire Henderson Davis. It is an external, confidential service for all police staff and officers to use. As mentioned by Bishop Paul Bayes after the service: “The chaplaincy is for everyone. It is an independent service for anyone, no matter their rank, faith or belief. As police work on the front line, it is essential they are supported emotionally”.