Headlines: October 31st, 2001

Street wardens, police auxiliaries and greater powers for Transport Policehave emerged as key elements of the strategy to improve the maintenance of law and order. Funding for street wardens has been allocated and details of new powers for Transport Police to operate outside railway premises have been published, but proposals by the Metropolitan Police Authority for police auxiliaries are at the discussion stage.Building public confidence is a key aim of reform strategy announced last month by Home Secretary David Blunkett. The new and proposed measures will have a high visibility and influence the confidence levels of the public about what is being done to protect them. Extending the police family in this way is also a response to the difficult issue of anti-social behaviour

The difference between street wardens and police auxiliaries is a variation in powers. Wardens will provide a reassuring uniformed presence on local streets and in public spaces. They will deter anti-social behaviour; reduce low-level crime and the fear of crime and encourage communities to work together to improve their local environments. They will have very limited powers. Police auxiliaries would have power to issue fixed penalty notices for disorder, including drunkenness, anti-social behaviour, aggressive begging and traffic offences.

More than 700 wardens will start work across the UK next spring following the allocation of 50m pounds to 120 local council schemes. The wardens and warden managers will be trained in partnership with the Home Office. A pilot Neighbourhood Wardens initiative with 85 schemes was launched in September 2000 and the learning from the pilots is being carried to the new schemes.

The Metroplitan Police Authority wants to employ 1000 auxiliaries across London. Recruits will receive about two weeks training given by the police.

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