Riverforce

Monday, 19 July, 2010

In just a few years, Riverforce has become an official staff support network in Merseyside Police. The workplace church is involved in the formulation of any policy before its implementation in the force.

It also receives funding from Merseyside Police and its leadership team has grown to six, covering virtually the whole of the force which provides policing services for the five local authority areas that make up Merseyside – Knowsley, Liverpool, Sefton, St Helens and the Wirral.

Recent developments at Riverforce have also seen the setting up of a counselling service. Weekly or fortnightly cells now operate in most areas of the force while joint celebrations at police headquarters in Liverpool city centre regularly bring together up to 90 officers.

Merseyside has a population of 1.4m, with the police workforce – as of December 2009 – standing at 7899 (including officers, staff and specials). A city-wide Christian prayer event at the waterfront Liverpool Echo Arena in 2009 saw 250 officers from Neighbourhood Policing Teams join the 4,500 audience. So successful was the Redeeming Our Communities launch that Merseyside Police requested a follow-up celebration in 2011.

Riverforce members have recently been going out to local churches to help them work more closely with the police. The first event attracted 150 people.

Chief Inspector Peter Owens, who launched Riverforce in 2006, has now retired but continues as a manager with the Occupational Health Team - and as chairman of the missional cell network. He is very encouraged by the developments:

We have had a lot of interest from other parts of the country and other organisations. On an individual level too there are some amazing testimonies. We will be running a force-wide Alpha course in the autumn. It's hard work but worth it.

Updates to, and learning points from, this story

Monday, 12 March, 2012

Keith Hitchman is Force Chaplain with Merseyside Police. He explains how his work has evolved in the city over the past two years.

Monday, 19 July, 2010

This story illustrates the principles of How might a call to fresh expressions come? in the Guide.