A walk-on part for Street Pastors in crime fiction

We think this is a first for Street Pastors – an appearance in fiction, in Mark Billingham’s The Dying Hours (2013), pp. 240–241.

mark billingham
Mark Billingham, author

Then, Thorne glimpsed the distinctive caps and blue and white waterproof jackets of the local Street Pastors; a pair of them talking to members of the TTFN crowd outside the kebab shop. These were inter-denominational volunteers, organised by local churches to patrol the streets in the early hours. To help, wherever they could. They made sure that people got into licensed taxis or found their way to the night bus and, with seemingly endless patience, they did their best to diffuse any threat of violence before the police needed to get involved.

Thorne had no idea why they would want to do what they did, but he was grateful for it.

He wandered across and gently drew one of the pastors aside; a man called Roger, whom he had spoken to several times before. He could not recall seeing Roger without a smile on his face. It tended to disarm most of those he was dealing with, though the fact that he was built like a brick s***house didn’t hurt.

‘Anything you can do, Roger,’ Thorne said, ‘very much appreciated, as always.’

‘We’re doing our best,’ Roger said. As usual, he was carrying a small rucksack, which Thorne knew was stuffed with flip-flops. These would be handed out to young women stumbling out of places like Flash in the early hours. Those who had lost their shoes or were so drunk that tottering around in high heels would almost certainly result in them being picked up from the gutter with a broken ankle …