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Rt Rev Dr Charles McMullen, Moderator of the Presbyterian Church in Ireland (PCI) made a visit to Ardmore police station in Newry yesterday (17 April) where he spoke of ‘society’s debt to police officers’ while praising their ‘selflessness’ and ‘vital role they play in keeping us all safe’.

The visit comes after Dr McMullen led a church delegation to the Policing Board for Northern Ireland in January. He has also met police officers in various locations in Northern Ireland.

“When I met with representatives of the Policing Board I said that as a community, we all share a responsibility to support the PSNI and its officers. My visits to various police stations, are practical reinforcements of those sentiments and a desire to listen, encourage and pray,” Dr McMullen said.

He was joined on his visit by Rev Tony Davidson, Minister of First Armagh Presbyterian Church and Convener of PCI’s Dealing with the Past Task Group. During the visit the churchmen met Superintendent Jane Humphries, Newry Mourne and Down District Commander, and other senior officers, who briefed them on policing in the district.

Pictured on the Moderator's visit to Ardmore PSNI station are from left: Inspector Nigel Henry, Rev Tony Davidson, Superintendent Jane Humphries, PSNI's Newry Mourne & Down District Commander, Presbyterian Moderator, Dr Charles McMullen, Inspector Russell Vogan QPM and Chief Inspector Joe McMinn.
Pictured during the Moderator's visit to Ardmore PSNI station are from left: Inspector Nigel Henry, Rev Tony Davidson, Superintendent Jane Humphries, PSNI's Newry Mourne & Down District Commander, Presbyterian Moderator, Dr Charles McMullen, Inspector Russell Vogan QPM and Chief Inspector Joe McMinn.

Superintendent Humphries welcomed the opportunity to explore how important safety messages can be communicated to the right audience through the church and encouraged the reporting of scams.

“Scammers are quick to take advantage of people’s vulnerability and good faith and, unfortunately, there is no end to the methods fraudsters will use to dupe people into giving them money.

“We understand many people are simply too embarrassed to tell us they have been scammed but, please, don’t let yourself become a statistic. Remember if you can spot a scam you can stop a scam,” she said.

The policing district is made up of the former Newry and Mourne and Down District policing areas. With a population of around 171,500 and a coastline of some 100 miles, it spans from Crossmaglen in South Armagh to Saintfield in South Down.

“These visits are primarily ‘pastoral’ and have grown out of a genuine desire of our Church to thank police officers for their selflessness and the vital role that they play in keeping us all safe. I wanted to convey to them, and their senior commanders, that along with the technical and support staff, they are valued,” Dr McMullen explained.

Appreciating and acknowledging the personal and professional demands, that society and today’s uncertainties place on police officers, he reiterated the message he gave in his sermon at September’s National Police Memorial Day, which was held in Belfast.

“When I gave the sermon I spoke about the parable of the Good Samaritan and the different examples set by those Jesus spoke of in the story. I used the analogy for a specific and perhaps obvious reason, that in keeping us safe police officers act as ‘Good Samaritans’ out of a sense of duty to the common good.

“Meeting members of the policing team here, has been a special opportunity to listen and to discuss many things, including some that are particularly challenging. I was also very thankful for being able to pray God’s blessing and protection upon all who serve,” he said.

In his Easter Message, Dr McMullen also referenced the police service and others ‘who do not make the headlines, but make such a difference’.

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