Street wardens could be axed

STREET wardens in parts of Suffolk could disappear because of Government cost cutting.Ipswich, Lowestoft and Bury St Edmunds all have wardens patrolling the streets to help stop petty crime, clear up graffiti and generally provide a reassuring presence.

STREET wardens in parts of Suffolk could disappear because of Government cost cutting.

Ipswich, Lowestoft and Bury St Edmunds all have wardens patrolling the streets to help stop petty crime, clear up graffiti and generally provide a reassuring presence.

But the government's two-year funding commitment has come to an end and the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister (ODPM) announced that money for street wardens will end in April 2004.

This has left the future of the street wardens in Bury St Edmunds and Lowestoft hanging in the balance.

However the future of Ipswich wardens look secure as the Borough Council, together with funding from the neighbourhood wardens unit, has budgeted to keep on its six safety wardens indefinitely.

Councillor David Ellesmere, the borough council's community safety spokesman, said: "The community caretakers scheme is very successful and very popular in Ipswich and I can assure residents that the scheme will continue.

Most Read

"We are grateful to the government for its two-year funding deal and from the beginning have budgeted for the scheme to continue after that period. It is a key part of this council's commitment to a safer Ipswich.

Suffolk County Council is hoping to find the funds to extend the scheme for another year, but does not know what will happen to the street wardens in Lowestoft and Bury St Edmunds in the long-term.

Peter Monk, county council portfolio holder for public protection, said: "We have always been aware that government funding for the schemes was short-term, due to end in 2004 and we are already in discussion with partner agencies about the continuation of the scheme.

"However, there is a strong likelihood that successful schemes such as these in Suffolk will be granted a further year's funding."

Street wardens have made a difference in these areas. Jointly funded by the county council, the neighbourhood wardens unit, St Edmundsbury Borough Council, the Waveney Crime and Disorder Reduction Unit and Suffolk Police, wardens dealt with 1490 incidents in Bury St Edmunds and 1581 in Lowestoft from September 2002 until May 2003.

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter