Jo Pomery and Andy Earl

“Safeguarding isn’t just something we do,” says Diocesan Safeguarding Officer the Reverend Andy Earl. “It’s who we are. How can we say we love our neighbour if we don’t safeguard the vulnerable?”

This point has been echoed by the Bishop of Truro, the Right Reverend Philip Mounstephen.

“Safeguarding is all of our business,” Bishop Philip said at a recent safeguarding event at Truro Cathedral. “It’s core to our business because it’s God’s business.”

The newest member of the Diocese of Truro’s Safeguarding team is Joanne Pomery. Like Rev’d Andy Earl, Jo is a former police officer. She joined the Diocese this month as Assistant Diocesan Safeguarding Officer and Safeguarding Officer at Truro Cathedral, after a career of 15 years with Devon and Cornwall Police.

Jo was born in Middlesex, but grew up in Cornwall, after her parents had decided that it was a good place to raise a family, and had established a small village shop in Porthcothan Bay, an area of outstanding natural beauty on the county’s north Atlantic coast.

So, at the age of four she’d relocated from north London to live by the beach.

She went to school in Wadebridge and then studied at Truro College. She worked in retail, in various customer service roles, before moving to the Bodmin-based watersports brand GUL International, where she spent a decade running their wet suits sales team.

She joined the police in 2008, completing her training the following February.

She worked in the police response teams in Truro and St Austell, before moving into an investigative role, and then joining the domestic abuse investigation team. Her most recent position was as an offender manager in the management of serious, sexual and violent offenders, as part of the Public Protection Unit at Devon and Cornwall Police.

Her job involved making unannounced home visits to monitor convicted sex offenders as part of the process of ensuring public safety.

“I’d always had an interest in joining the police,” she says. “It was an interesting role. It’s a funny thing to say you enjoy doing, but at its heart it’s about safeguarding communities and vulnerable people.”

When she saw her new role advertised, she was struck by how her police duties would prepare her for safeguarding responsibilities in the Church.

“I thought my existing skills would transfer over quite well, to make a positive difference and help people – in a rather more positive environment than what I’ve recently been used to,” she says.

Her first priority, she stresses, is to safeguard vulnerable people and to focus on survivors, to make sure their voices are heard.

“Safeguarding can only be a positive thing for everyone,” she says. “It’s about supporting each other. We’re just working in the church to align ourselves with what the public sector and statutory agencies are doing. I’m very keen to allay any worries about that.”

She says she’s really excited about starting her new job.

“I’m really looking forward to it,” she says. “It’s a really nice opportunity to learn something very new. And there’s a lot to learn. I’ll make my way through carefully – and hopefully get there soon!”

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