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Review Under Way of Guildford’s Community Safety Wardens

Published on: 11 Jul, 2013
Updated on: 11 Jul, 2013

Guildford’s Community Safety Warden (CSW) service is being reviewed. The council wish to ensure that, in the current financial climate, the £390,000 service is of appropriate scale with the correct scope.

There are currently seven wardens working, under a supervisor, in six areas of Guildford regarded as Guildford’s ‘less advantaged’ based on: deprivation indices, crime levels, and the amount of social housing. The areas are: Ash, Guildford town, north Guildford, and Westborough and Onslow.

Community safety warden Andy Coumbe who covers Stoughton, Merrow and the Christchurch ward.

Community safety warden Andy Coumbe who covers Stoughton, Merrow and the Christchurch ward.

Guildford Borough Council, the police and Guildford residents had all been invited to give their views.

The main identified options for the future service are:
•    to leave it as it is
•    to shrink it
•    to reduce it
•    or to refocus it

The recommendation was that the team be refocussed with less emphasis on ‘street-care matters’, a change of title and uniform and more effort put into community and capacity building.

It was acknowledged that the CSWs act as a useful bridge between individuals and a range of voluntary and statutory agencies, working with some of our less advantaged communities. For some, it was said, their support has been critical.

One area of study was the possible overlap with police community support officers (PCSOs) who were introduced after CSWs and it is thought are carrying out some of the role originally envisaged for them.

To reflect this change it has been suggested that ‘Safety’ be removed from their title but several councillors spoke against the proposal and were also against changes to the uniform on the grounds that it is now established and well recognised.

Community safety warden for Stoke Garry Jones, pictured with Cllr Zoe Franklin and Nikki King at the Moggy Pond in Bellfields. Garry has been working with the local community in the makeover project of the pond.

Community safety warden for Stoke Garry Jones, pictured with Cllr Zoe Franklin and Nikki King at the Moggy Pond in Bellfields. Garry has been working with the local community in the makeover project of the pond.

But there is a risk that the PCSO role itself might change as a result of pressure on police budgets and the Police Commissioner might wish to see them deployed in more of an enforcement role.

The council has, to date, given the police an annual grant of £50,000 to fund two PCSOs. But now that the role has been ‘mainstreamed’ the grant, as Surrey Police has accepted, is no longer felt appropriate and the money could be used for the CSW service.

Rather than employ extra wardens it was felt by those who spoke on the issue that the money could best be used to fund specific community projects.

Community safety wardens Tracy James and Richard Musgrove are key players in the Joining In! project that is supporting community involvement in Park Barn and Westborough. They are pictured with the project's co-ordinator David Rose (third left) and Nigel Smallbone, outreach worker and co-ordinator of Welcome to Volunteering. Both projects are managed by Voluntary Action South West Surrey.

Community safety wardens Tracy James and Richard Musgrove are key players in the Joining In! project that is supporting community involvement in Park Barn and Westborough. They are pictured with the project’s co-ordinator David Rose (third left) and Nigel Smallbone, outreach worker and co-ordinator of Welcome to Volunteering. Both projects are managed by Voluntary Action South West Surrey. Picture by Dan James.

Cllr Terence Patrick (Con, Send), chairman of the Customer and Community Scrutiny Committee, that was debating the review, summed up some views:  “As others have said it is a waste of time changing uniforms, people are familiar with them and what the wardens do.”

The review will now be considered further, in light of the views expressed before it is referred to the Executive.

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test 2 Responses to Review Under Way of Guildford’s Community Safety Wardens

  1. Colin Robert McCarthy Reply

    July 24, 2013 at 2:14 pm

    The Community Safety Warden service in Guildford is, I would say, a high
    priority service. The safety wardens do an excellent and professional job.
    The PCSOs also do very good work in Guildford.

  2. Brian Holt Reply

    July 29, 2013 at 8:16 pm

    Please don’t waste money on changing community safety wardens uniforms.
    This money would be better used on helping the local communities instead.
    These wardens have done a great job, helping schools, clubs, elderly residents, and their local communities, and are a essential service to all of us in the community.
    To all the wardens: keep up your good work.

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