The crime rate has fallen by nearly 28% in the first wave of areas with neighbourhood wardens. The wardens are a key element of the innovative approach which involves a coalition of stakeholders including local residents, representative steering groups and a range of partnerships. The evaluation of the first 84 areas to get neighbourhood wardens was carried out by Social Development Direct in collaboration with NOP and Crime Concern, on behalf of the Neighbourhood Renewal Unit at the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister.The findings also show that in the warden areas evaluated there was also a 10 per cent decline in fear of mugging and street robberies and a 6.5 per cent decline in worry about bogus callers. The evaluation also found that neighbourhood wardens play a unique role as the friendly face of regeneration. They forge links between local people and other agencies to tackle the issues that affect quality of life in disadvantaged communities.
Wardens are a key part of the National Strategy for Neighbourhood Renewal, launched by the Prime Minister in 2001, which aims to narrow the gap over the next 10 to 20 years between England’s most deprived communities and the rest of the country. Neighbourhood wardens are employed by local councils and have limited powers. They undergo a week-long course which deals with topics ranging from tackling environmental problems and graffiti to abandoned cars. Their focus is to deter anti-social behaviour; reduce low-level crime and the fear of crime and encourage communities to work together to improve their local environments.
There are some 500 neighbourhood warden schemes, employing a total of 3000 wardens, throughout England. . There is a 91million pounds budget for the schemes for the period 2000 to 2006. Match funding is provided either by the local authority, local housing association or voluntary sector organisation.