Prayers help cops in catching criminals, crime solvingFebruary 22nd, 2010 - 6:36 pm ICT by IANS
London, Feb 22, (IANS) A senior police officer in Britain claims he has slashed the crime rate in his home town - by praying, a media report said Monday.
Inspector Roger Bartlett says the power of prayer has helped catch criminals, boosted crime detection rates and even reduced the number of people killed on the roads, Daily Express reported on its website.
Bartlett, who has 23 years’ experience, is ”convinced” that faith work has had a positive impact on policing in Barnstaple, Devon.
The 44-year-old Christian arranges prayer meetings where locals are encouraged to pray in a bid to cut crime. He claims his prayers have been answered “on a number of occasions”.
The officer, who is part of the leadership team of the local Christian Policing Association, said: “For the past six years or so, I have reported to quarterly meetings of Christians from different churches in Barnstaple who want to pray for local policing issues.”
“I have seen a number of specific answers to their prayers like the unprecedented Halloween night in the town when the police did not have to attend a single incident of disorder.”
“Also, a prolific serial dwelling burglar who, after a significant series of offences, was apprehended in very unusual circumstances within three days of that group praying that he would trip up and be caught.”
Inspector Bartlett, of Devon and Cornwall Police, asked Christians to pray for an improvement in the local crime detection rate in 2007. At 26 percent it had one of the poorest clear-up rates in the force area.
He said: “Every quarter since that time, there has been an increase in that figure to the point that Barnstaple currently has a detection rate of just over 40 percent of total crime, which is one of the highest in the country.”
“Clearly, many who do not have the faith 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.”
Bartlett said the “most significant answer to prayer” was a dramatic fall in the number of serious road accidents in North Devon after he asked a group of local Christians to pray on this issue.
He also works with Christian volunteers from local churches. The Street Pastors patrol towns at night in Devon helping people who need support. Bartlett’s comments that praying can help police work were backed by the Christian Police Association.
Don Axcell, executive director of the 2,000-member group, told Police Review magazine: “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 percent.” But he added: “We do not discount good police work, which is why we call this circumstantial evidence.”
Axcell, a retired sergeant in the Metropolitan Police, said he could not recall more details about these incidents but they were in the late 1990s.
The association’s website says: “There is circumstantial evidence to suggest that prayer may help to reduce crime and community tension.”
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