Newcastle Council drops plans for antisocial behaviour wardens after failing to recruit anyone

28.03.23 Anti-Social Behaviour Credit: PA
Newcastle Council has failed to recruit any wardens to tackle anti-social behaviour in troublesome hotspots. Credit: PA

A council has been forced to drop its plans for wardens to tackle antisocial behaviour after failing to recruit anyone for the roles.

Newcastle Council advertised 15 warden roles last year as part of a £1.5million strategy to tackle antisocial behaviour.

The idea has now been scrapped after three rounds of recruitment failed to produce a successful candidate.

Labour councillor Lesley Storey, said the failure to succeed in doing so is "not for want of trying."

Ms Storey told a scrutiny committee that the salary had been increased to £22,777 and a "more exciting" job description introduced.

There is now a new plan in place to hire five community safety support officers instead.

Ms Storey said: “It is not ideal, it is not perfect, but it is a pragmatic solution to a situation. We had to do something different because we were just not going to get those wardens.”

The scheme was part of the local authority's Better Lives, Safer Communities programme, which also included plans for a neighbourhood and city centre task force operating on Friday and Saturday evenings.

Northumbria Police is getting rid of 136 Community Support Officers. Credit: PA

Concerns about the scheme were first raised last November with Kenton Councillor Stephen Lambert pointing out that residents in disadvantaged areas want to see active police presence on their streets.

His comments came in the same week Northumbria Police confirmed plans to axe the majority of its Police Community Support Officer (PCSO) jobs - 136 in total.

Although 41 of the posts facing the chop are currently vacant, the force has pledged to redeploy at-risk staff to other jobs while at the same time saying they will be putting an extra 134 police officers on the streets.

Superintendent Jamie Pitt told Newcastle Council's scrutiny committee that the restructure, which comes amid a £12m budget deficit, would mean a “change is focused on neighbourhood crime and anti-social behaviour and a proactive targeting of offenders."

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