Memorandum submitted by the Department
for Transport, Local Government and the Regions
1. This memorandum describes the work of
existing Neighbourhood and Street Wardens Programmes (NSWP) run
by the Department of Transport, Local Government and the Regions
(DTLR) and the Home Office, and considers the links to the Police
2. The Social Exclusion Unit's 1998 Report
recommended that further work be undertaken on the concept of
neighbourhood wardens so a Policy Action Team (6) on neighbourhood
wardens was established. Following work led by the Home Office
on Policy Action Team 6, the NSWP was set up with funding from
the Home Office and DTLR. The NSWP is now part of the Neighbourhood
Renewal Unit's (NRU) work within DLTR.
3. The NSWP which is advised and supported
by a National Stakeholders' Group, has a budget of £43.5
million from 2001 to 2003-04 to fund 85 Neighbourhood Warden schemes
in England and Wales with 450 wardens, and 123 Street Warden schemes
in England with 700 wardens. Warden schemes are mainly run by
local authority or housing associations and are closely monitored
by the Government's Regional Offices. There are four main types
of Neighbourhood Warden scheme:
IV. neighbourhood support worker.
4. Neighbourhood Warden scheme objectives
range from reducing fear of crime and crime prevention to environmental
improvement, community development and housing management. All
warden schemes are required to reflect the needs, history and
culture of their area and carry out community consultation. Neighbourhood
Warden schemes do not have enforcement powers reflecting Policy
Action Team (6) guidelines.
5. The primary aim of the Street Warden
programme is to improve the local environment, particularly in
relation to litter, graffiti and anti-social behaviour as well
as promoting community safety, this is part of the Government's
liveability agenda. These schemes are just starting up with government
funding providing essential pump priming at 50 per cent of the
total cost. Street Wardens operate in towns and cities as well
as neighbourhoods and place more emphasis on environmental improvements
and the promotion of community safety and cohesion. Some Local
Authority led Street Warden schemes may invest their wardens with
existing Local Authority enforcement powers to impose fines for
litter and dog fouling. So far only a very small number have chosen
to use this option for litter and dog fouling enforcement powers.
6. Both warden programmes operate on a partnership
basis involving the local community, local authority, the police
and other stakeholders including registered social landlords in
the local schemes. The NSWP is currently collecting evidence of
what works best within all warden schemes, the results of this
will be implemented into the exiting programmes.
7. Many schemes recruit wardens from the
local area, their knowledge helps in building a relationship with
the community. NSWP, in conjunction with the Home Office Crime
Reduction College, have developed a detailed training programme
that provides a minimum of 4 weeks training for wardens, supervisors
and managers. A recognised NVQ (level 2) qualification is expected
to be in place later this year (development is at an advanced
stage, field trials have been held) to reinforce the idea that
warden jobs are valued and genuine careers. The NVQ could be made
available to the proposed Community Support Officers.
8. Warden schemes are encouraged to undertake
their own monitoring and evaluation and participate in external
evaluation. Government Offices monitor schemes twice a year. Self-reported
successes are recorded and disseminated every six months. Independent
evaluation to assess warden impact and cost benefits for both
the Neighbourhood and Street Warden programmes has been commissioned
and will provide six monthly reports beginning this year.
9. Feedback from Neighbourhood Warden schemes
has been very encouraging and includes:
I. Wardens in Sheffield have negotiated and
implemented a fast track response to their abandoned vehicle problem,
reducing removal time from 30 days to less than 10 days.
II. Hull has seen the introduction of "sharps
bins" installed by wardens resulting in a reduction from
250 needles, often drug related, per month on the streets to 30.
Prompt abandoned car removal has seen incidents of car fires reduced
from 15 last year to 2 so far this year.
III. In Darlington, where wardens began patrolling
in May 2000, the number of burglaries in the town has dropped
by 17 per cent. In the areas where the wardens patrol, crime has
dropped by as much as 40 per cent.
IV. Walsall wardens have, in their first
6 weeks, generated action on 39 "street care" requirements
(tree pruning, grass cutting, public conveniences, litter bins
etc) and tackled 44 cases of anti-social behaviour.
V. In the Caernarfon warden scheme, police
calls to instances of anti-social behaviour are down by 54 per
cent and police calls generally by 57 per cent on the Maes Barcer
10. The Bill proposes different tiers of
police support such as Community Support Officers (CSO) and Accredited
Support Officers. These roles, particularly the latter, appear
to be complementary with both Neighbourhood and Street Warden
ethos and we welcome the idea of adding to the reassurance and
deterrence work already being done by wardens, many of whom work
with local people on local community neighbourhood issues.
11. The functions proposed in Schedules
4 and 5 for the additional tiers of policing reinforce evidence
from our independent evaluation report, which places fear of crime
as the highest priority for warden schemes, followed by environmental/streetscene
improvements and tackling anti-social behaviour. The level of
community consultation required of newly accredited schemes is
not clear, though those based on the current Neighbourhood or
Street warden model will have consulted the community.
12. Neighbourhood and Street Warden programmes
already work very closely with the police and accreditation appears
to be the area where warden schemes would most comfortably sit
within the provisions of the Bill.
13. Relationships between warden schemes
and the police have, in the main, been positive. Police endorsement
of local warden schemes is an essential for NSWP grant aid and
the police have been very supportive of the wardens' objectives.
The police are key local stakeholders and members of local warden
steering groups and have made a significant input to warden training.
All Government funded schemes have proceeded with police endorsement.
14. Nationally, police were involved in
PAT6 and are represented on the NSWP National Stakeholders' group
that advises the NSWP. Two police services have seconded chief
inspectors to the NSWP and police trainers are heavily involved
in the induction training of wardens.
15. Accreditation, could therefore be a
formalisation of the good practice that currently exists but would
extend to cover warden schemes funded through any source providing
quality assurance for all schemes within the extended police family.
16. We are reassured that accreditation
is not compulsory and that accredited schemes need not take on
all or any of the enforcement powers outlined in Schedule 5. However
it is possible that some existing schemes would request the powers
available under accreditation to extend their effectiveness in
areas where enforcement is requested and seen as appropriate.
17. This Bill therefore, provides a real
opportunity for wardens, police and the new community support
officers to work together in order to reduce crime, fear of crime
and disorder, and to improve the environment.
Department for Transport, Local Government and