May 20th was the National Day of Prayer for police officers, which is promoted by the Christian Police Association (CPA). The CPA, founded in 1883, held this event for the fifth time in its history. As a demonstration of spiritual solidarity for the police officers, special services were held in churches across the country and at police headquarters.
Assistant Director of the CPA, Don Axcell, called on all Christians for prayer support for the police officers in England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales. As a police officer, they face emergencies and challenges to their physical lives everyday. Axcell, who is a former policeman himself, also acts as chaplain at a police rehabilitation centre. He explained the strong need of the police for spiritual strength.
He shared his experiences, “I go down there and I meet officers and some of them are really hurting. Police officers are human beings and suffer just like anyone else when they are doing an extraordinary job. I have so many opportunities to minister to them.”
With a mission to promote and foster fellowship of Christians in the police service, CPA acts as a bridge between the local Churches and Christian police officers. In Merseyside, which was once described by the Chief Constable as the “European drug capital”, police and churches together form a unique community partnership and commence a prayer scheme for combating crime. Now over 100 churches in that area are praying regularly for the police and the crime situation.
The group is called IMPACT (In Merseyside Police And Churches Together). Dave Riley, a police officer in Merseyside believes the power of prayer has reduced the crime rate across Liverpool by 45% since the launch two years ago of IMPACT. The action of IMPACT has won the approval of the Chief Constable Norman Bettison.
Dave also encourages people to imagine stepping into a police officer’s position to know and understand their needs and pray for them.
The Annual National Assembly of CPA was also just held in late April by the Greater Manchester Police force at the New Life Centre in Romiley, Stockport, Cheshire. Many police officers were renewed in sprit and gained spiritual strength in this meeting.