LETTER: Community Wardens ‘not a new idea’

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In his letter featured in the edition of December 17, Doug Rands implies that the suggested introduction of Community Wardens is a new initiative, it is not.

For several years residents in the Steyning and Ashington areas of Horsham District have benefited from a warden presence with staff supplied by Horsham District Council but paid for by the respective parishes. This also happens in the Chichester District where a similar arrangement exists.

SSALC is now working with partners in Sussex to develop a more versatile community presence where a Community Warden serving a single community or cluster of adjoining communities is employed to carry out a very wide range of tasks, none of which will require the powers of a warranted police officer.

For example, one such vital task is community resilience; we encourage all local councils to prepare an emergency plan and develop a structure of resilience to be implemented at times of need.

A task for the community warden will be to take charge of such a plan and ensure it is up to date and tested; this becomes ever more critical against the background of savings we know have to be faced by the county and district councils in West Sussex. The range of suggested tasks are well set out in the report prepared by the clerk to Billingshurst Parish Council.

Mr Rands’ point about an apparent lack of visible policing in Billingshurst is outside the scope of this reply but I am sure if approached, the Divisional Commander for West Sussex, Chief Superintendent Steve Whitton, will be pleased to explain the new Operating Model to provide Mr Rands with the reassurance he seeks.

I am very pleased that the pilot sites for this scheme will be supported financially by the Police and Crime Commissioner in keeping with other community initiatives supported by PCCs here and elsewhere.

TREVOR LEGGO

Chief executive, Sussex and Surrey Associations of Local Councils, Brooks Close, Lewes

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