Merseyside police appoint first Jewish chaplain

By Jonathan Kalmus, July 29, 2011
David Coleman with Chief Constable Jon Murphy

David Coleman with Chief Constable Jon Murphy

Merseyside Police's chief constable has welcomed the force's first Jewish chaplain who may be called upon to support officers on traumatic crime scenes.

David Coleman, 64, who works for Liverpool's Allerton Synagogue, is the choirmaster at the nearby Childwall Synagogue and is the Merseyside chair for the Community Security Trust. He was welcomed into the police ranks by Chief Constable Jon Murphy last Friday.

Mr Coleman is expected to provide eight hours a month of pastoral care for the force's six active Jewish police officers, although he could be called upon at any time to attend a serious or large-scale crime scene where officers of any faith require counselling or support.

Mr Coleman, who is also the chaplain for the Royal Liverpool Hospital, said a meeting next week would plan the new service. "Part of the remit is for disaster or major murder scenes. I have a lot of experience in dealing with difficult situations, so I think I am mentally prepared, but sometimes you won't know until you arrive at a scene," he added.

Merseyside's Inspector Jeremy Harris said the reflection of diversity within the force was reassuring, adding: "As a Jewish officer it is good to know that the force has put a Jewish chaplain in place. This gives me the opportunity to speak to someone with a real understanding of my faith who is able to provide me with support through any pressures that may arise."

The Jewish chaplain is part of a multi-faith team, the first organised chaplaincy for Merseyside Police. The team is directed by Reverend Keith Hitchman, who is also spearheading Liverpool's first city centre street pastors. They will assist the drunk or vulnerable people who join the city's 100,000-strong nightlife revellers every weekend.

Mr Coleman said he hoped to involve Jewish volunteers in the pastoral service to assist Jewish youngsters at popular social venues.

Last updated: 10:10am, July 29 2011