Headlines: February 19th, 2004

Four hundred Community Wardens are to be recruited by local authorities across Scotland as part of a campaign against anti-social behaviour. In total the country’s 32 local councils will spend thirty million pounds on measures to combat the problem over the next two years.Other measures will see some authorities expanding mediation services to deal with problems before they get out of hand and an increase in the number of specialist teams run by councils to deal with anti-social behaviour.

The 400 wardens will be paid for with 20 million pounds ring-fenced for the initiatives. Ten million will support the other schemes, which will also include work with victims and supporting witnesses.

Scottish Communities Minister, Margaret Curran, said anti-social behaviour was blighting communities across the country. New legislation to tackle the problem would emphasise the need for a joined-up multi-agency approach and confirm that communities had to be involved in devising the solutions. She said the new measures meant that every council in Scotland would  have Community Wardens as part of their antisocial behaviour strategy and from April people would begin to see the 400 new wardens on the streets of selected neighbourhoods. Different local authorities would have different warden schemes, as there was no ‘one size fits all’ model.

Other measures approved by the Minister will see 19 local authorities setting up or expanding their mediation services to help nip problems in the bud before they become more serious and 16 councils introducing or increasing their specialist teams, often to include seconded police officers, to deal with behaviour problems at community level. Eleven authorities will use their funding to develop support for victims and witnesses to end the fear of recriminations for people who took a stand against antisocial behaviour.

The money allocated to councils has been based on criteria such as deprivation and population levels.