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Street patrols heading for Stowmarket

PUBLISHED: 11:25 14 June 2003 | UPDATED: 14:00 03 March 2010

NEIGHBOURHOOD wardens could soon be patrolling the streets of Stowmarket in a new crackdown on antisocial behaviour in the town.

The problem is thought to cost the town council up to £20,000 per year and it is hoped the new scheme will help target its cause.

NEIGHBOURHOOD wardens could soon be patrolling the streets of Stowmarket in a new crackdown on antisocial behaviour in the town.

The problem is thought to cost the town council up to £20,000 per year and it is hoped the new scheme will help target its cause.

Uniformed wardens would aim to cut crime and the fear of crime in their communities by being a visible and reassuring presence on the streets.

Vandals and people dumping litter would be a particular target for the wardens, who would then pass on information to the police.

The move has the backing of Suffolk Police, the Stowmarket Town Forum and also the town council.

A spokesman for Suffolk Police said: "We welcome anything that assists officers with their day to day duties and with our aim of making Suffolk the safest county in England and Wales by 2006."

Council clerk Malcolm Baker stressed the role of the wardens is not to be confused with that of a security guard.

He said: "This is much more flexible with a wider remit than just a security guard.

"They will do some security work but a lot of other things as well. A big part of their role would be to reassure people by their presence."

The idea of neighbourhood wardens was first put forward by the government around four years ago and Stowmarket is the latest town to consider the move.

Town councillor Twiggy McKinlay said Home Office funding could be tapped into if the scheme is approved.

She added: "If we save money on vandalism, the idea could eventually become cost effective and we could pay for it ourselves."

Councillors from the town are currently planning a trip across the border to Norfolk to see how a similar scheme operates in Norwich.

Mrs McKinlay said this trip, planned for the next few weeks, would help the council to decide on how many wardens would be needed and what areas they would be deployed in.

What do you think? Would wardens make a difference? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk or join the forum at www.eveningstar.co.uk

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