On patrol with the wardens in Steyning

Arundel & South Downs MP Nick Herbert went on patrol with the neighbourhood wardens in Steyning on Friday night (17 April) and visited some of the main “trouble-spots” for anti-social behaviour.

Mr Herbert joined Neighbourhood Warden Paul Sweeney and Street Scene Warden Jayne Jeffrey for the patrol and was accompanied by local campaigner David Barling.

Mr Herbert and Mr Barling were given a briefing on the work of the wardens who deal with a range of issues including underage drinking, vandalism, fly-tipping and abandoned vehicles.  As a member of the Steyning Area First Responders (SAFeR), Mr Sweeney is also trained to deal with medical emergencies.

Mr Herbert and Mr Barling were told about activities organised by the wardens to divert young people from anti-social behaviour.  In February, junior wardens were drafted in from local schools to operate a SID (Speed Indication Device) on the High Street in Steyning to warn people of their speed.  They also take part in litter picking, gardening and graffiti clean-ups.

The Neighbourhood Warden scheme was launched in the parishes of Steyning, Bramber and Upper Beeding in 2004 and, since 2007, they have been part of the Local Action Team (LAT) which brings together representatives from the police, local councils, schools, youth service and chamber of trade.

Paul Sweeney commented: "It was a pleasure to show Nick and David some of the hot-spots for anti-social behaviour in Steyning and to tell them about the ‘quality of life' issues that we deal with on behalf of and alongside the local community.  It was really good of them to come and see us."

David Barling commented: "The neighbourhood warden scheme in Steyning, Bramber and Upper Beeding has been a great success.  Incidents of anti-social behaviour have fallen substantially over the past year, by about a half in fact, as a result of combined action from the wardens, police and courts.  I congratulate Paul and his colleagues for the work they have been doing and I will continue to give them whatever support I can."

Nick Herbert commented: "I'm a fan of community wardens as I think they perform a really useful role.  The idea is to complement the local police and Police Community Support Officers, not to replace them.  In fact, I hope that more of our villages will consider introducing wardens.  The fact that residents are willing to pay for their wardens in Steyning and Ashington does suggest that local people feel they deliver value for money."

Mr Herbert added: "I was also impressed with the ‘yellow cards' which wardens can issue to warn young people about persistent bad behaviour.  I've actually proposed a similar scheme and I'm pleased to see that it is effective."



Notes for Editors

1. For the website of the Steyning, Bramber and Upper Beeding Neighbourhood Wardens, visit http://sbubwardens.squarespace.com/.

2. To contact the Neighbourhood Wardens, ring 01903 813236 or e-mail south.wardens@horsham.gov.uk. They are based at the Fire Station in High Street, Steyning.

3. For the website of the Steyning Area First Responders (SAFeR), visit http://www.safersteyning.org.uk/.

4. In the photograph Nick has joined the wardens on a patrol through Steyning (left to right: Paul Sweeney; Jayne Jeffrey; David Barling; Nick Herbert).

5. Under powers set out in the Police Reform Act 2002 the Chief Constable of Sussex Police is able to award accredited wardens of Horsham District Council powers including the following: issue Fixed Penalty Notices in respect of cycling on the footway, dog fouling and littering; require names and addresses of people acting in an anti-social manner and issue penalty notices for disorder; confiscate alcohol in designated public places and from under-18s; seize tobacco from young persons; remove abandoned vehicles; issue fixed penalty notices for graffiti and fly-posting, and stop cycling on a footpath.

Christopher N Howarth