Many forces in England, Wales and Scotland have had a system of chaplaincy in place for some years. Chaplaincy to Wiltshire Police began with the appointment of the Force's first chaplain, the Reverend Dr Richard Armitage, in December 2005. Richard is tasked to offer chaplaincy to those who work at Headquarters and create a multi-faith chaplaincy Team throughout the Force area.
This is a part time appointment. Richard is also responsible for supporting the parishes of the Church of England in the deanery of Swindon.
Following Richard's appointment as Senior Chaplain, a team of voluntary/local chaplains were appointed who work throughout the Force area.
The Development of Chaplaincy
The chaplaincy works in accordance with the following mission statement:
The Chaplaincy Mission Statement:
- Chaplaincy to Wiltshire Police offers a service, which is available to the Force and all within the Force, that is individuals and groups of any or no faith/religious tradition.
- The Chaplaincy is a team of chaplains of different faith/religious traditions who, respecting the uniqueness and integrity of all religions, are committed to work together to offer pastoral and spiritual care and support to those within the Force and their families.
- The Chaplaincy Team is committed to work alongside management and yet retains its independence within the organisational structure of the Force. From this privileged position, members of the Chaplaincy Team offer the availability of non-directive, non-evangelistic and confidential counsel.
- The Chaplaincy Team acts as a resource to the Force, participates in appropriate consultative issues and advises management on relevant policy matters.
Some underlying thoughts behind the Mission Statement:
The first three of the initial objectives, offered in the Mission Statement above, are directly concerned with supporting officers, staff and their families. This is a prime objective of chaplaincy, although it is hoped that these objectives will also have an indirect impact on Force delivery in that they will also strengthen the Force's commitment and understanding of religious diversity generally.
The fourth objective is specifically aimed at policing and delivery. It is intended that part of the aim of chaplaincy group will be to act as a resource to inform the Force about religious identity and its importance.
The benefits of this particular resource will be to:
- Influence the Force's delivery to the community, specifically religious communities
- Contribute to the confidence that religious communities can have in the Force
- Ensure those people, for whom religious identity is important, feel enabled to consider working with, for and in Wiltshire Police.
The Chaplaincy approach:
At no time does chaplaincy seek to evangelise, 'push' religion or promote any religious bias.
In the first place chaplaincy seeks to understand:
- The work and culture of the police service
- The pressures under which its officers and staff work
In the process of this learning, chaplaincy aims to gain the trust of officers and staff and affirm the contribution which the Force, officers and staff are making to the life of the community.
Thereafter, the role of the chaplain is to be available to support officers, staff and their families as they work through any situations in which support can be offered. These situations will vary tremendously. Each situation is unique and chaplaincy will seek to respond to any situation which presents itself. Experience says that these situations will range from the most obvious pastoral situations, such as bereavement/death, to stress related situations, to work and family relationships.
Religion and spirituality are not separate compartments of life; and even those who do not regard themselves as 'religious', may experience something of a spiritual identity, which permeates into and influences other areas of their lives.
If you have any queries, comments or suggestions that you would like to make, concerning chaplaincy in general or the information offered on this Web page, these would be helpful. Comments may be directed to:
Rev Dr Richard Armitage
Phone: 07989 240 763