Wardens will still be 'on the ground' despite Wychavon launching shared community safety service with Malvern - The Evesham Observer

Wardens will still be 'on the ground' despite Wychavon launching shared community safety service with Malvern

Evesham Editorial 4th Oct, 2017   0

THERE will still be community safety wardens ‘on the ground’ council chiefs have insisted after Wychavon and Malvern Hills District Councils joined forces to launch a shared community safety service.

The new service, which started operating on Sunday, will see the two councils share resources as a result of the uncertainty of funding from West Mercia’s Police and Crime Commissioner towards community safety partnerships.

Currently the PCC funds the South Worcestershire Community Safety Partnership, of which both Wychavon and Malvern Hills are members, and aims to prevent crime and disorder, misuse of drugs and anti-social behaviour.

However, Commissioner John Campion is reviewing funding to the partnership and the two councils are taking action to make sure a community safety service continues.

The service will see strategy, policy, management, project work, data analysis and administration work shared between the two councils, but they will still individually control environmental regulation, CCTV, safeguarding and emergency planning.

Wychavon is set to save about £23,000 a year as a result of this joint-working which will see Malvern Hills run the service and Wychavon pay a management fee.

A new joint project officer will be appointed to oversee the service, but both councils will retain their own community safety wardens.

Speaking at the meeting, Coun Gerry O’Donnell, portfolio holder for community development, culture and sport, said: “I was particularly concerned that we didn’t lose the feet on the ground because with community safety that’s where a lot of the work is done and we have kept the community safety wardens at the same numbers as before.

“I’m happy that the on the ground cover is still there and that’s where they get the intelligence from, its feet on the ground, it’s getting to know the community, getting to know the network and so I propose that you agree with these changes.”

However, the Liberal Democrat leader Coun Margaret Rowley raised concerns about the effect the changes could have on tackling rural crime.

“I’m a bit concerned about rural crime,” she said.

“One my ward walk recently it was brought to my attention that there are quite a lot of problems with poachers leading to violence and perhaps threatening behaviour.

“Have we got any assurances that this will be managed correctly by the police and crime commissioner as I believe funding is not available to us anymore from that source?”

In response, Coun O’Donnell said: “You’re quite right, the police and crime commissioner will be managing this. It’s consistent with everywhere else; we were the only ones who had our own rural business crime people. Yes we are assured that they will take this forward, they have models in other areas so we’re given assurance that the police will be taking care of the rural community.”

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