Headlines: May 28th, 2004

Council Community wardens in Darlington are the first in the country to use the same communications technology as the local police in a move that it is thought will help the wardens combat crime and anti-social behaviour more effectively.They are connected to Airwave, the communications system adopted by the Durham force late last year. The system uses new handsets that combine the functions of radios, data devices and mobile phones. This will enable the wardens to communicate directly with the police, their colleagues, and local members of the public and with the CCTV control room, all at the touch of a button.

The system was delivered to Durham Constabulary as part of a UK-wide initiative last Autumn and replaced the old radio system with 21st century technology. The force was keen for the Council’s community wardens to adopt the same technology.

Eleanor Lister, Darlington Council’s Cabinet Member for Social Services, said it was vital that the wardens’ communications system gave them instant access to their police colleagues and it meant that service to the community would be further improved because the wardens would be able to provide a quicker response to reports of problems such as anti-social behaviour.

Chief Superintendent Michael Banks of Darlington Police said that for the past two years the wardens had been using old-style radios similar to those used by the police. This had assisted partnership working but the link would have been broken following the introduction of the force’s Airwave system.