Community wardens are ‘doing work of the police’
Councillors at Kent County Council (KCC) claim community wardens are doing the work of the police as officers are not trusted by the public.
The head of community services at the authority, Cllr Mike Hill said KCC staff are taking over some roles of law enforcement.
These trained council officers are out in more than 100 communities, tasked with tackling anti-social behaviour like graffiti and fly tipping.
However their roles have “evolved” to look out for residents, particularly those who are the most vulnerable.
At a select committee meeting earlier this month, Cllr Hill said: “Wardens can often go where police can’t.
“A community warden in a rough area of Ashford within six weeks had won the trust of the little toe rags there. Those lads wouldn’t have gone anywhere near the police.”
Cllr Hill added: “Community wardens’ roles have changed enormously since they started in 2002.
“It was initially a low-level law and order enforcement service to assist the police but we have evolved a lot since then, they have a very much stronger role to play in terms of community cohesion.
“They are the one person in that community that is paid as a job to help you and everything is their business.”
But Kent Police say wardens cannot replace police community support officers (PCSOs). It comes during one of the force’s biggest recruitment drives as more than 200 extra officers are set to join its ranks.
Det Supt Susie Harper said: “Kent Police is committed to building trust and confidence within communities and our officers go to great lengths to engage with residents from all walks of life, including those who may be suffering from social isolation or are within hard-to-reach groups.
“Community wardens also play a valuable role, working with us to help tackle low-level crime and anti-social behaviour. This approach represents partnership working at its best.” A Latvian fruit packer racked up a string of driving offences after storming off following a row with his girlfriend and taking her father’s car.
At Maidstone Magistrates’ Court last week, Andris Stickans pleaded guilty to drink-driving, using a car without insurance, driving a vehicle otherwise than in accordance with his licence and to taking a motor vehicle without consent.
All the charges related to one night, September 5, when it was said Stickens had a row with his girlfriend and left, taking her father’s car Mitsubishi Colt without permission.
Stickans, of Postley Road, Tovil, was said to have recently arrived in the UK.
He gave evidence via an interpreter.
Stickans was fined and ordered to pay court costs and a victim surcharge, which together totalled £583.