Claire Rai introduced the report, saying that the Neighbourhood Wardens Service consisted of 13 officers who patrolled the borough’s streets and estates. The service had been formed when the Shepherds Bush Street Wardens and the Estate Wardens Services had merged.
The Neighbourhood Wardens provided a wide range of services, including:
- Tackling Anti-Social Behaviour both through intervention and by passing information to housing officers so that tenancy action could be taken where the perpetrators were council tenants.
- Stopping Begging and Street Drinking by providing support for those on the streets and by taking enforcement action where necessary.
- Providing Reassurance through high visibility patrols and home visits to residents.
- Helping to keep the borough clean by issuing fines to those littering or failing to clear up after their dogs.
- Engaging with residents and helping with their problems; the team regularly attended community events to talk to residents and also gave fraud prevention advice to older residents.
- Doing joint work with the police, including carrying out weapons sweeps across housing estates. Intelligence was also regularly provided to both the police and other council services.
- Helping with major incidents by being available to do what was needed. The team carried out a range of roles in an emergency, from acting as the Local Authority Liaison Officer to manning cordons and helping to direct the public. The team had attended the terrorist attack at Parson’s Green on Friday 15 September.
A resident asked how the service could be contacted and whether they would attend all incidents. Stephen Gibbs said that the Neighbourhood Wardens operated from 8am -11pm Monday to Saturday and 10am-10pm on Sundays. The service could be called on 020 8753 2645 and where possible the team would visit a resident on the same day as their call; if this proved impossible officers would contact the resident to discuss the issue with them over the phone.
A resident asked how the team helped rough sleepers if they only worked until 11pm. Stephen Gibbs explained that monthly patrols were run at 3am, along with St Mungos who provided support to those sleeping on the streets.
A resident asked how many fixed penalty notices had been issued for littering. Stephen Gibbs explained that the vast majority of the 72 fixed penalty notices issued between January and July 2017 were for littering whilst in 2016 120 fixed penalty notices had been issued. The council’s street scene enforcement officers were noted to issue far more of these notices as that was one of their primary roles, whereas Neighbourhood Wardens carried out enforcement alongside a wide range of other duties. The resident explained that he had previously asked that the council look at ways to carry out more littering enforcement as he did not feel that residents were getting the message. Councillor Harcourt agreed to provide the resident with a response to his suggestions about increased enforcement.
A resident asked whether the service would be affected by the changes to shared service arrangements. Claire Rai explained that it wouldn’t be as neither the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea nor Westminster City Council had a Street Wardens service. Councillors were pleased that the borough had been able to retain its service as it was very useful for residents.
The Chair asked where officers working in the service were recruited from. Stephen Gibbs explained that staff were from a wide range of backgrounds, with some from enforcement, some from customer service roles and some ex-police officers; the key to being successful in the role was being approachable and being able to communicate well with the public.
A resident asked whether the service dealt with fly-tipping on estates. Stephen Gibbs explained that the service would report fly-tipping to housing officers and Mitie to arrange its removal. Where rubbish was considered to be a fire risk they would arrange removal immediately.