Belfast Telegraph

Friday 25 July 2014

Police work a vocation, says chief

Sir Peter Fahy has told how being in the police force is a vocation

Being a police officer is a "vocation" and "not just a job", according to the Chief Constable of Greater Manchester Police days after two of his officers were murdered.

Sir Peter Fahy referred to the force as a "family" and expressed the importance of prayer after the "very, very dark day" on which Pc Nicola Hughes, 23, and Pc Fiona Bone, 32, were killed.

The Chief Constable says a prayer vigil will take place for both his staff and the public one week on from the killings.

"Greater Manchester Police is a family and to have lost two colleagues this week in awful violent circumstances has just been devastating for the whole force and a very, very dark day.

"I think a lot of us feel passionately that policing is a vocation. It is a calling. I feel that in terms of my own faith but I know a lot of officers that don't have a faith, but feel exactly the same - that it is a vocation, that it's not just a job and I think that's almost what you go back to in difficult times and difficult circumstances that how unfair something may feel, how inadequate you may feel you do actually rely on that you're doing your best, and that this is your vocation," he said in an interview on BBC One's Songs of Praise.

Speaking about his Christian values and how much he values prayer, Sir Peter said: "The chance for me personally to be able to, every day, to have bit of quiet time, pray, think about your own values, your own sense of vocation, and to examine your own conscience I think is really, really important.

"We know a lot of people would like to express their feelings at this time. It's mainly really for their colleagues and for members of the force but, no doubt, there will be members of the community, local people, who will want to use a vigil, whether they have a faith or not really, just to be there.

"It is that sort of human need to express emotion to be together.

"Well for me personally and a lot of people of faith, prayer is important... you do often feel so helpless, so praying for the dead officers, praying for their families, becomes your own reaction, your own expression of hope really for them, at a time of great need."

Sir Peter expressed his pride in being part of an "unarmed police force" that uses "minimum force". He said: "We believe very much in what Robert Peel laid down for us back in 1829, that we are a routinely unarmed police force, that we use the minimum of force and that we have this close, very close, connection with the community that we serve and that is really, really important to us."