Select Committee on Home Affairs Appendices to the Minutes of Evidence


Supplementary notes submitted by the Association of Police Authorities following the evidence session on 7 March 2002


  1.  The Association of Police Authorities (APA) welcomes the invitation from the Home Affairs Committee to provide further information about existing warden schemes operating in different parts of the country. Annex A provides a sample of a number of such schemes, based on returns by police authorities to a consultation exercise initiated by the APA in the light of the Home Secretary's proposals for accredited community safety schemes with limited police powers. The purpose of the consultation exercise was to find out about community warden schemes currently operating, to seek views on what is working and what is not, and to seek views about the Government's proposals to inform a wider debate.

  2.  Responses were received from over 20 police authorities in England and Wales. The responses demonstrated that there are many flourishing community and neighbourhood schemes currently operating, with a range of different tasks and lines of accountability. A common theme however, was the importance of local ownership of the schemes and their objectives.

  3.  Those who commented on the question of providing wardens with limited police powers, in general did not support such powers, and believed they might cause the warden schemes to be less rather than more effective, despite a recognition of good intentions behind the proposals. Indeed, they suggest that such proposals would undermine, not bring about, the desired outcome for safer more confident communities, for example by confusion over respective roles and a lessening of confidence in the wardens if they were perceived to be part of the enforcement structure rather than part of the community and acting on their behalf.

  3.  The APA is clear that decisions about whether and in what form wardens are employed, and other non-police organisations accredited in some way by the police, must be taken at local level. Those responsible to local communities for delivering local priorities must be able to decide the issues in consultation with their communities—a significant number of police authorities expressed concern about these approaches being imposed from the centre on a "one size fits all" basis.

  4.  We are aware that the Neighbourhood Renewal Unit and DTLGR are currently undertaking an evaluation of the neighbourhood warden programme covering the 85 schemes in place. This work will report in spring 2003. We also know that an evaluation of the street warden programme is about to be commissioned. This covers the 123 street warden schemes.

Association of Police Authorities

March 2002

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