Councillor pledges to fight for funding for expanded community warden scheme in Portsmouth
THEY have attended thousands of incidents of anti-social behaviour – including the infamous Hotwalls 'riot' last summer, and now a city politician has vowed to protect Portsmouth’s ‘brilliant’ community wardens amid concerns over funding.
At a meeting next week Portsmouth City Council's community safety boss, Councillor Lee Hunt, will consider extending the contracts of eight wardens which were introduced to double the existing team.
If approved the workers will continue to attend incidents both reported by the public and found on patrol including cases of anti-social behaviour, fly-tipping and helped the city's rough sleepers.
Cllr Hunt praised the wardens, which he described as a ‘necessary’ service.
‘Because the police have been cut back so much they have been a very important interface with the public and done an incredible job and stepped in wherever others couldn't step in,’ he said.
‘They have been really brilliant. They were there during the Hotwalls riot last year.’
The cost of retaining the additional community wardens is £320,000 per year. This cash is available until March 2021, however, past this the council will face a £140,800 shortfall unless grants are provided by central government.
Cllr Hunt added: ‘We should look for ways to fund it into the future but we get really cross because we know its a good service but the government isn't providing enough money.
‘I will do everything I can to keep them on past next year.’
The extra eight community wardens were approved in 2018 last year to extend the hours of support on offer.
It meant team members worked between 8am and 2am, Monday to Friday and from 10am to 2am at the weekend, adding to the 10am to 10pm slots worked by the other eight wardens.
Between 2018 and 2019 the team took action on a total of 7,318 incidents in the city. They were called to 3,776 reports made by the public and found 7,297 issues while patrolling.
Each warden carried out an average of 457 actions.
A decision on retaining the extra wardens until 2021 will be made at a community safety meeting on Tuesday, January 28.