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The introduction of neighbourhood wardens arose from the Government's Social Inclusion Unit Policy Action Team 6 report, which examined what models of such schemes were cost effective and how could they be financed. As a result, the Neighbourhood Wardens Unit was established within the Department for Communities and Local Government and short-term funding was made available to establish warden schemes.
Core areas of work for schemes vary from area to area but can include:
- Crime prevention - providing advice and becoming involved in such initiatives.
- Estate management - undertaking minor repairs to properties such as mending fencing and boarding up broken windows.
- Environmental improvements - reporting problems to other service providers and following up responses, initiating and co-ordinating community clean-ups.
- Community development - developing initiatives with both young and older people.
The schemes aim to promote community safety, improve the quality of life for local people and contribute to a reduction in crime and the fear of crime. Wardens can 'fast track' local service delivery and instigate local initiatives, provide a semi-official presence and act as professional witnesses in anti-social behaviour (ASB) proceedings. They should complement, not replace, local authority services.
Many local schemes recruit wardens from the communities they serve and thus reflect and gain the respect of the local community. Wardens wear a uniform distinguishable from that of the police service and do not have any police powers, unless they are part of an Accredited Scheme.
The role of the warden can be to act as patroller, concierge, caretaker/super caretaker and neighbourhood support worker. The police, local authority and residents should support schemes. Both local authority areas and estates owned by Registered Social Landlords can have warden schemes. They can be a valuable source of information to the police and deal with and dissuade minor ASB, including graffiti, litter and dog fouling.
To find out if you have a warden scheme in your area contact your local anti-social behaviour coordinator
ARTICLE LAST UPDATED: 23/05/2007