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article imagePolice chief claims prayer has led to higher crime detection rate

By Chris Dade     Feb 21, 2010 in Crime
A senior policeman from the southwest England is claiming that the prayers of the local community have helped his officers improve their crime detection rate.
Inspector Roger Bartlett, 44, is the person in charge of policing in Barnstaple, a town in Devon, a county in the Southwest of England.
In 2007 Inspector Bartlett's officers were only achieving a crime detection rate of 26 percent, one of the lowest detection rates in the area covered by the Devon and Cornwall Constabulary.
Faced with that situation the Inspector, a leading member of his local Christian Police Association with over 20 years experience in helping maintain law and order, says he asked the local church community to pray for greater success for his officers in solving crime.
He explained to the Western Morning News what he believes happened next:Every quarter since that time, there has been an increase in that figure, despite reductions in the overall crime rate to the point that Barnstaple currently has a detection rate of just over 40 per cent of total crime, which is one of the highest in the country. Of course, that is down to some fantastic local policing, but the prayers I hear from Christians are for officers to be good at their job and implement practices that will lead to offenders being brought to account and victims seeing justice done. Clearly, many who do not have the faith I have would say that this is just coincidence, but the increase in that figure is so marked that it is indeed 'some coincidence'. From my experience, the more I pray, the more 'coincidences' I seem to see
But Inspector Bartlett is claiming an even greater achievement for the power of prayer than the increased success in detecting crime - a reduction in the number of people killed or seriously injured on the roads in the Barnstaple area.
In 2007 and 2008 there were 97 such incidents on the Inspector's local roads, a figure that fell by 67 percent to just 32 in 2008/2009.
Noting that in the surrounding areas the next lowest annual figure was 66 he commented:On this occasion, I am not sure we can make the same link between this reduction and 'good police work' as the figure is well beyond the control of even the best traffic officers that I know
News of Inspector Bartlett's explanation for the improvement in the performance of his officers seemingly emerged after an article appeared in the magazine Police Review.
The article reportedly criticized central government funding for a project initiated by the Christian Police Association (CPA).
And according to the Daily Express Don Axcell, a former officer with Greater London's Metropolitan Police Service and executive director with the CPA, has supported the assertions made by Inspector Bartlett, who is involved with the Street Pastors group, in respect of prayer and its impact on the performance of the police.
He gave his own examples of what he considers to be the benefits of praying, saying:In one area an officer was investigating an incident but he had not been able to apprehend a suspect. He encouraged a church to pray for him and within days a suspect had been charged.
In another area an officer encouraged churches to pray about domestic burglary and over the year it came down by 30 per cent. We do not discount good police work, which is why we call this circumstantial evidence
Meanwhile Devon and Cornwall Constabulary's Assistant Chief Constable Paul Netherton observed:Whether you believe in the power of prayer or not, the fundamental issue is that there are people out there caring about society. I am all for people caring for their society and that they value and are proud of their police service. It may be that someone is motivated because they are a Christian, but this is not about one faith. We are a diverse organisation that accepts everybody
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