Thames Valley Police and the Diocese of Oxford are delighted to confirm that the Reverend Helen Arnold is to take up the role of Lead Chaplain.
Helen will co-ordinate a team of around 30 volunteer chaplains who provide personal, practical and spiritual care to the force’s officers, staff and their families of all faiths and none. Helen takes over from the Revd Canon David Wilbraham, who was Thames Valley Police chaplain for over 10 years before being recently licensed as the National Police Chaplain.
"I am thrilled to be taking up the post of Lead Chaplain in Thames Valley Police, a new venture for me. This is an exciting post which recognises the valuable contribution of chaplaincy in supporting police officers, staff and their families, in their commitment to provide a vital public service in increasingly difficult times,” says Helen.
“After working as a volunteer police chaplain previously in both Northumbria and Cambridgeshire, I am delighted to be appointed to this leadership role which feels like an exciting culmination of my professional experience and wider ministry. I look forward to working with the team of chaplains who offer their insights, skills and experience to the police in this way, and especially to meeting many new colleagues and getting to know, and become known, in the communities which they serve."
Helen joined Fitzwilliam College, Cambridge, as Chaplain in 2014. She was born and educated in Scotland. After graduating from Edinburgh University, she moved to London where she qualified as a social worker, working in various fields; latterly in mental health. After a varied career including working for the Rural Development Agency, management training consultancy, a North-East Children's Charity, and as manager of a young people's mental health project in Melbourne, Australia, she was ordained in 2006 in the Diocese of Newcastle. She served as curate, and associate priest in Newcastle upon Tyne, as well as Chaplain in Northumbria Police, and Northumbria Industrial Mission with an interest in chaplaincy to people at work.
While a tutor at Westcott Theological College 2013-2014 and as a Vocation Adviser for the Diocese of Ely Helen has continued to serve as a police chaplain at Parkside Police Station in Cambridge.
Commenting on the appointment Chief Constable Francis Habgood said: “I am delighted to welcome Helen to Thames Valley Police. Our volunteer chaplain team has grown substantially under the stewardship of the Revd Canon David Wilbraham and are the source of great care and support for our officers, staff and volunteers. Helen’s experience and passion for working across denominations and cultures will be of particular value to our force and the communities of Thames Valley.”
The Rt Revd Colin Fletcher, the Bishop of Dorchester and the lead Bishop nationally for police chaplaincy, said: “Helen brings a wealth of experience and expertise to this important role. Chaplains provide invaluable support to police officers and staff as they work, often in challenging circumstances, to tackle crime and keep our communities safe.”