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Policeman swaps sirens for sermons to become Manningham priest
A former Detective Chief Superintendent who led murder investigations is swapping sirens for sermons when he becomes the new priest at a Manningham church.
The Reverend Alistair Helm, who worked as head of CID in Leicestershire, spending 17 years combining his ministry with his police work, will be licensed by the Bishop of Bradford Nick Baines as priest in charge of St Paul’s Church tomorrow.
During his time with the police, he was responsible for the murder investigation teams, surveillance units, special branch as well as child abuse and financial investigations, and he said his colleagues were supportive of his dual role.
“Police officers are well known for their humour and there was mickey-taking too – the daily morning conference became known as ‘morning prayers’ and Cellophane was stuck on my office windows to create ‘stained glass windows’,” he said. “Some people assumed that because I was a priest I wouldn’t be an effective police officer, but when you try and bring what the Christian faith demands of us into the workplace then you will achieve.”
Mr Helm, who left the police in 2008, said dealing with domestic violence, child protection allegations, woundings and burglaries helped him see that “God is at the centre of us all, even the worst criminals”.
He said even though his new Manningham patch had an 80 per cent Muslim population, the church was still very active.
“I’d like the church building, which is in the centre of Manningham, to be at the heart of the community,” he added. “We’re blessed with useful space, both outside and inside the building.”