20/04/2004

Crime reduced by neighbourhood warden schemes

The government's neighbourhood warden scheme has been hailed as a success after pilot areas recorded a fall in overall crime rates of more than a quarter.

The Neighbourhood Wardens Evaluation Report, published by an independent agency, examined progress in 84 areas and found that there was a 28% drop in crime. There was also a 10% decline in fear of mugging and street robberies in warden areas.

The first wave neighbourhood warden areas were designed to establish partnerships with the police and other agencies to improve the quality of life in local communities by tackling crime and fear of crime.

Since 2000, funding has been distributed between 245 warden schemes, employing some 1,500 wardens. In total, there are some 500 neighbourhood warden schemes employing a total of 3,000 wardens throughout England.

Minister in the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister (ODPM), Yvette Cooper, said that the schemes had made "a real difference for local residents".

"When you see a report like this it is no surprise that neighbourhood wardens are proving so popular in local communities, and that so many areas are now choosing to set up their own warden schemes," she said.

"Wardens are proving a friendly and reassuring presence on the streets, rebuilding confidence in local communities."

Over the evaluation period, the research also found that residents felt less intimidated anti-social behaviour such as loitering teenagers.

ODPM has set aside a total of £91 million for warden schemes between 2000 and 2006. Of this, £18 million funded the 84-phase neighbourhood warden schemes covered by the evaluation.

Match funding is provided either by the local authority, local housing association or voluntary sector organisation.

(gmcg)

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