Checkpoint | Spring 2017

Checkpoint - Christian Police Association Northern Ireland, Spring 2017



10 Minutes With…

On 6th January 2017, Sam Donaldson spent an hour talking with the Chief Constable George Hamilton about his work and his faith. Chief Constable George Hamilton

Q. Good afternoon Chief, thanks very much for your time. You’ve been a police officer for 30 years. What motivated you to join? And what have been the highlights of your career? I was brought up with a real respect for the police, and for law and order. My parents taught us this from an early age. I also had an older brother in the police. Influences at home were very important, even though joining at the time was a high risk. I really wanted to look after people and to keep people safe, which is why when I became Chief Constable it was easy to communicate this message as my purpose for the organisation that I had been given the privilege and responsibility to lead. I genuinely wanted to protect people and that’s what makes me tick. There have been many highlights in my career; and many difficult times when I have lost colleagues. Some of the highlights have

been very simple, where I’ve been able to make a real difference in people’s lives. I remember in particular dealing with a situation where a young person had committed suicide. I still recall receiving a letter in which the family thanked me for my input and in particular for demonstrating empathy in their sad and tragic circumstances. I remember as well dealing with really challenging investigations as a Detective Chief Inspector and Detective Superintendent. In one case I recall a local District Commander advising me that the area had been left in a better place than we found it as a result of how we conducted our investigations. That was encouraging. I never thought I would be Chief Constable so it was a surprise and that appointment is an obvious highlight and a real honour to become the Chief Constable. Q. You’ve been Chief Constable now for nearly three years. What’s a typical day like for you? What’s the most difficult aspect of your role? What’s your main objective as Chief Constable? The great thing about this job is that there’s no such thing as a typical day. The only constant thing is that difficult and unpredictable challenges arise every day! Most days I arrive around 7.30 and often leave about 12 hours later. 9 to 5 is usually back to back meetings so the couple of hours before and after the meetings are necessary for admin and for thinking time. As an organisation, we are really good at operational matters, the situations involving disorder and high risk. My role however is to remain as a visionary

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for PSNI and it’s therefore vital that I generate that thinking time. There are times when I need to leave the operational matters to my senior colleagues – sometimes that’s challenging for me and my senior colleagues because I like to be involved (the ACC’s would probably describe that as me ‘dabbling’!!) If I had one objective during my time as Chief Constable, it would be to complete the transformation of policing in accordance with the Patten reforms. Don’t get me wrong, the culture and focus of the organisation in the past were necessary in the circumstances, and I did have some personal challenges with some of the Patten recommendations such as the name change and the symbols. However, those changes were the right ones to make and it was necessary for us to move from a police force to a police service. I still think there’s some work for us to complete in this regard. Providing a service to the whole community is the foundation which Patten espoused and I bought into it at the time … and still do. We need to be accountable to the community and I believe we still have some way to go to convince the entire community how good we are as a public service. Q. We often ask people if they were Chief Constable for a day what they would do. I’d like to ask something a bit different … If you were a Constable or an SEA for a day, what would you do? Only when you get to a very senior position do you realise the importance of what front line people do every day. Matt Baggott, my predecessor and a man I hold in the highest regard, used to talk about the “strategic importance of the routine” like the day to day engagements which take place. We can never underestimate these individual encounters and the impact they can have both in a positive and negative way. I don’t think I appreciated that as a Constable and I would encourage front line officers and staff to bear this in mind as they engage with the public. Q. I know you’re a born again Christian. Tell us a little about your journey to faith. As a child there was a point when I became a Christian; however I like to talk about my journey ‘in’ faith because while a turning point and a decision is important it is amazing to me that God works in our lives to develop a relationship with him. When I joined the police at 18, I had to decide whether my faith was going to have an impact on my life, or whether it was just going to be about going to church. Don’t get me wrong, going to church is important, but I decided that I wanted a daily relationship and therefore chose to allow my faith and my beliefs to influence my family, my friends shape my values and my behaviour and even the way I do my job. I think many people have a similar two stage experience in the journey of life. Whilst I don’t force my Christian opinions on others whom I meet every day, I like to think that every day I use my Christian anchor points to positively influence my decisions and actions.

The Chief Constable will continue telling us about his faith and career in the next edition of Checkpoint.

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A Retired Policeman, Refugees, Caravans and the Calais Jungle

In the late autumn of 2015 I was told by a serving officer in Essex Police that his friend Shelley was taking caravans to Calais for refugee families. At that time I had an old caravan on my drive that I no longer needed so I agreed to donate it to Calais. A week later at 3.30am I set off from my home at Felsted with Shelley who had been to the Jungle refugee camp in Calais a couple of times already.

Driving off the ferry, within 5 minutes we drove into the Jungle. It had been raining and the roads were just muddy tracks. I needed the 4-wheel drive of my Hilux truck as we passed throngs of people on the narrow track, many in sandals and flipflops. Most of the people were in tents, some in shanty shacks. I was in the third world. We drove through the main muddy street to an area where there were 5 caravans. They were occupied by refugee families and were sitting in and surrounded by large pools of water that stank of sewage. The Jungle was on wasteland situated on low lying land behind the sand dunes on the coast next to the ferry port. We decided this was an awful place for the caravan so I towed it to a drier area of bushes and brambles which we cleared with the help of refugees. An Afghan family with two young children moved into the caravan from a tent they had been living in. I then towed the other caravans to this better, drier place.

My first visit to the “Notorious Jungle” impacted me in a number of ways. I saw the awful conditions that these people were living in, flimsy festival tents pitched on land that was boggy and liable to flood, there was a lack of food, no warm or waterproof clothing or proper shoes. There was NO organisation, NO one in charge, No Government, No large Charities, No Red Cross, No Save the Children! Just lots of small groups mainly from the UK helping the refugees. The refugees were not how I expected, they were very friendly and “Notoriously” hospitable insisting you come and take tea(Chai) with them sharing what little they had. They were grateful and

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I saw the need and I just had to help. I joined the group with Shelley and 5 others with the aim to take caravans to families and unaccompanied children in the Jungle. We called ourselves “Jungle Canopy” as we were providing shelter to refugees. For the next year until the jungle was cleared in October 2016 I went to Calais each week with a caravan and aid as did many others, we took about 200 caravans to provide a safe haven for Refugees. The caravans were sponsored and prepared by churches, schools and community groups.

I met many amazing refugees from Eritrea, Sudan, Syrian, Iran, Pakistan and Afghanistan most spoke English many had nightmare stories to tell, like the 14yr old Afghan girl who watched her 2 brothers and her sister drown in the crossing to Greece as they spent 9hrs in the sea. This was a humbling and amazing opportunity for me to show the love of God, I will never be the same. Tony Britten retired from Essex Police after 30yrs service in 2005. He was a former Branch Leader of the Essex CPA, a Police Chaplain, on the board of the International Christian Police Fellowship and an Elder at Braintree Elim Church.

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Street Pastors & PSNI Join Forces CPA recently participated in an All-Ireland Street Pastors Event hosted at Newforge Country Club on Friday 24th February.

A/ACC Stephen Cargin with Harry Moreland and Tomas Jenkinson of Street Pastors Ireland. Also present are organisers Insp Tim Flanigan and Insp Marty Reid.

Street Pastors volunteers and co-ordinators from all over Ireland

CPA Prayer Breakfast If there’s one thing guaranteed to get a bunch of Police Officers and Staff out of their beds on a cold Friday morning, it’s the offer of a free fry up. It was fantastic to see so many CPA supporters, both old and new at our recent Prayer Breakfast in Newforge. For many it was a chance to meet CPA UK National Director Lee Russell for the first time and hear about the work of CPA across the United Kingdom. All those who attended were treated to a CPA gift pack, kindly donated by a local Christian trust. We hope to run more of these breakfast events in future so make sure you are on our mailing list to keep up to date with what’s happening.

Enjoying fellowship & a fry at Newforge

Lee Russell and Sam Donaldson with some of the CPA SPOCs

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‘ they crucified him ’ (Matthew 27:35)

Over the years there have been many horrific killings of innocent people in our land, yet none of them compare with what happened at Calvary two thousand years ago.

The word ‘him’ refers to a PERSON, the Lord Jesus Christ. He was God’s divine Son. He was the promised Messiah. He was the ‘Lamb of God’ (John 1:36) and therefore sinless, spotless, pure and holy. He came to ‘seek and to save’ (Luke 19:10). He came as the perfect Servant to be obedient to the Father’s will. The word ‘they’ refers to the PEOPLE. When the Lord was on earth He mixed with people from every kind of background. Although He came with a message of peace and hope, the Jewish religious leaders rejected Him. The High Priests tried Him using false accusations. King Herod and the Roman governor Pilate refused to exercise their authority and gave in to the cries of the people. The word ‘crucified’ refers to the PUNISHMENT. This was the cruellest form of death that anyone could possibly imagine. The pain and the agony were unbearable. It was reserved for criminals who fought against the Roman soldiers and cursed them. Not so, the Lord. He willingly submitted to the death of the cross. He was not being crucified because Pilate ordered it or because the people demanded it. He was being crucified because this was God’s plan of salvation for sinful man. On the cross the Lord was bearing man’s sin and paying the price for our redemption by shedding His precious blood. But this was not the end. He arose victorious over death and the grave and today He is a risen exalted Saviour at the right hand of the Father in Heaven. This Easter what does the crucifixion mean to you? As believers we should be rejoicing in all that was accomplished at Calvary on our behalf. If we do not have a personal relationship with Him, and perhaps the work of the cross seems meaningless, He wants us to acknowledge our sin and come and put our faith and trust in Him. May this be a wonderful Easter for all of us – because of the risen Lord.

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CPA Drilling Wells in Burkina Faso (That’s in Western Africa!) By Tim Flanigan

In the two weeks just before Christmas, while many of you would have been putting on hats and gloves, myself and another member of CPA, Keith Forsythe were putting on hats and gloves for very different reasons – to drill wells in the 40 degree heat of Burkina Faso. Keith had made several previous trips and this was my debut. We worked as part of a team with Friends in Action, who during the dry season, when no rain falls (October to April) travel almost continuously from village to village, arriving in an impressive convoy, led by a distinctive orange drill rig lorry. This is one of the poorest countries in the world, where many people have nothing and survival is eking the land, yet the friendliness and hospitality of the people is fantastic. 16 million people with 60 distinct ethnic groups, a relic of the French colonial empire where Christians and Muslims can mostly live together happily, not yet influenced by the Jihadi incursions in the North of the country. The capital Ouagadougou (pronounced Waga-doo-goo) is still recovering from the impact of an Al- Queda attack at a Western hotel last year. Christians are vulnerable as they gather on Sundays to worship and armed guards patrol the grounds. The country is prone to drought and famine and only large towns have reservoirs. We headed out West near Koudougou, to arrive in the blackness and quietness of the African bush with a friendly scorpion below us and the milky way set out in splendour above. After setting up camp, the quietness was punctuated throughout the night by Guinea Fowl, donkeys and calls to prayer. Bathrooms were of the outdoor variety, with a shovel supplied. It was a real blessing to meet the people of the villages and see the delight on their faces as we arrived, and the excitement as they watched us drill. We link in with a church in each village where we drill, so that they can use the availability of clean water for all as witness and practical ministry to all in the surrounding area. Clean water is more precious than gold in this area, bringing new hope, symbolised by the arrival of butterflies when they smell the water. Drilling in heat is hard work – all maintenance here is performed by the team so we need to bring our own food and water. We encountered some setbacks but the spirit of perseverance of the team was a lesson that I took away from the trip. In one village we worked in thick mud for days on end, sharing the area with pigs who loved every minute of it. A hammer fell down a well in one village, we simply moved several yards and started over again – ‘Never Give Up’ took on a new meaning. With the modern world stripped away; TV, Internet and

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the bustle of day-to-day life it was also a fantastic opportunity to focus on the important matters of life – the people in the villages, the local churches and to focus on God. We pray that our wells will meet the practical needs of the villagers in the years to come and also that they would learn about God through the use of the wells in local ministry.

A local boy looks on as the team drill for water

The Friends in Action team with elders in a local village

Tim, Keith and team making friends in the village

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Coaching 4 Christ

One of CPA’s charity partners is Coaching for Christ. With a team of around 40 coaches and volunteers from various backgrounds and churches, C4C run a number of programmes aimed at enhancing footballing skills and helping young people get to know Jesus. Do you have a young person who might be interested in their football coaching? Details of their summer camps are below. Visit for more info.



Host Church

29 May – 1 June 5 – 8 June 12 – 15 June 19 – 22 June 26 – 29 June 7 – 10 August 14 – 17 August 14 – 17 August 21 – 24 August 3 – 6 July


Ballylintagh Gospel Hall


Journey Church Carrick Baptist Shankill Parish




Portstewart Baptist Cornerstone City Kells Presbyterian



West Passage (Cork)

Douglas Baptist Youghal Baptist Bethany Baptist

Youghal (Cork)


CPA Finances As a registered charity, we take this opportunity to remind members and supporters of our financial requirements. The day to day running of CPA, just like any other Christian work, costs money. We are thankful for your prayerful and practical support over the past year and again ask for your financial help in covering the costs associated with the work and witness of CPA. Our continued desire to produce new outreach material, publicise the work of the CPA, purchase further Bibles for distribution to Officers and Staff and advance our work and witness in many other ways will only be achieved with your assistance. The recent temporary appointment of a part-time CPA Administrator has been hugely beneficial in progressing the work and witness of CPA but can only be sustained if the finances are available over the coming months. If you are an income tax payer we encourage you to make use of the Gift Aid Scheme by completing the enclosed form allowing us to reclaim the tax on any gift you make. The Payroll Giving Scheme is very simple and is intended for serving employees of PSNI, both Police Officers and Police Staff. It is hoped that this Scheme will be re- launched in the near future and we encourage serving supporters to give via this mechanism when it becomes available. If you are interested in supporting the work of CPA, please email the Treasurer at or contact the CPA Helpline 07443472108.

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What’s On 2017... 7 April 7.30pm – CPA Lite North Area, Exodus Coleraine 2 June 7.30pm – CPA Lite Pray for our Country, The Dock Café Belfast

14 – 18 August – Holiday Bible Week, Portrush October (date TBC) – CPA Lite South Area

24 November 7pm – Christmas Dinner, Edenmore Golf Club 7 December 7.30pm – Christmas Carol Service, Garnerville CPANI Contacts

President – Sam Donaldson – PSNI Musgrave Secretary – Alan Hutton – PSNI Strand Road Treasurer – Ricky Brown – PSNI Gough Editor – Heather Flanigan – PSNI Lurgan Field Worker – Joe Beggs – 07732306714 Get in Touch: Phone our Helpline 077443472180

Email Web

CPA Mission is to; • Encourage and support Christians in the PSNI.

• Communicate in words and action, the truth, message and hope of the Gospel in Jesus Christ to colleagues and the community we serve. • Build bridges between the Christian Community and the PSNI.

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Supported by:

GREATER THINGS HAVE YET TO COME. GREATER THINGS ARE STILL TO BE DONE IN THIS CITY. Summer is a difficult time in our policing calendar. For many years we have seen the very worst of Northern Ireland over the summer months as community tensions rise and streets become battlegrounds. Do you believe God has a better plan in store for us? Join us as we pray over our communities, our colleagues and our nation.

Venue: Dock Café, Queens Road, Titanic Quarter, Belfast (Beside the SS Nomadic)

Date: Fri 2 nd June 2017 @ 7.30pm

Annual Holiday Bible Week Mon - Fri 14th - 18th August 2017 Portrush Presbyterian Church

POINTS FOR PRAYER Speakers Those sharing their faith Salvation of Souls Musicians

MORNING SESSION Mon - Fri at 10.30am Rev Jonathan Currie, 1st Saintfield Presbyterian Church EVENING SESSION Mon - Fri at 7.30pm Rev Andrew Mullan, Mourne Presbyterian Church

BBQ Beach Activities Football Watersports Giants Causeway Carrick-a-Rede Children’s work ACTIVITIES

CPA Text Line: 07443472180

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