Littlehampton warden project to be extended and possibly expanded one year on

Thursday, 17 March 2022 07:26

By Jessica Hubbard - Local Democracy Reporter

A pilot project which sees foot patrols in Littlehampton has been extended and could also be expanded to another town.

The community wardens project started as a pilot in April 2021 and was set to run until September this year. But new funding of £100,000 identified as part of Arun District Council’s 2022-23 budget will see the project continue. It is also set to receive £270,000 in subsequent years from the council if approved as part of future budgets.

Littlehampton Town Council match-funds the scheme and will continue to do so.

The town council’s clerk said: “[The community warden scheme] has already proven to be a very significant asset for the town and our expectation is that this will continue to grow. “It is another excellent example of how partnership working can truly deliver tangible benefits to local people where any one council might baulk at the risk.”

Between April and December 2021, the wardens spent more than 1,500 hours on patrol; issued 104 warnings including for cycling and public space protection orders; submitted 68 police intelligence reports; attended 39 anti-social behaviour incidents; held 40 community events and drop-in surgeries; and made ten safeguarding referrals.

‘Most worthwhile scheme I’ve seen’

ADC’s housing and wellbeing committee will discuss continuing the scheme on Thursday (March 16) and will also decide on a potential expansion to Bognor Regis.

Formal discussions are yet to take place with stakeholders in Bognor Regis and match funding would be required for an expansion of the scheme.
Speaking in January, housing and wellbeing committee chair and deputy council leader Jacky Pendleton (Con, Middleton-on-Sea) said the project is ‘one of the most worthwhile’ she has seen.

“I was lucky enough to be able to go around with your community wardens, all around Littlehampton, and see the work they do first-hand,” she said.
“And to see the response of our residents to those people- it was exceptionally good. They know people, people know them, people feel safe when they’re around.”

Wardens have also received positive feedback from the wider community

Littlehampton’s harbour master Harry Gregory said: “The team has made a great start and are clearly professional, approachable, and passionate. The scheme has real potential.”

And a representative of homeless charity Turning Tides said: “I think it is a very necessary role.

“I at times view them as an extension of our outreach team.”

Arun Youth Projects added that one of the wardens had ‘worked hard to build trusting relationships’ with young people.

Littlehampton Traders Partnership wants to see more visits to businesses and the harbour master says hours should be shaped around demand.

“As we see it, the main demand for [community wardens] in and around the river area is at weekends, ” said Mr Gregory.

What do community wardens do?

Community wardens are a ‘highly visible presence’ carrying out ‘regular foot patrols’ across Littlehampton. The three wardens form relationships with neighbourhood police and community groups to try and reduce anti-social and nuisance behaviour. Wardens also share intelligence, including witness statements, with the police and other agencies. Outreach is also a part of the scheme and the wardens work with young people and at risk groups as well as holding community events. Whilst the wardens actively enforce public space protection orders (PSPOs), they are ‘not a replacement for police resources or responsibilities’ and do not have powers of arrest. They aim to provide ‘resilience, reassurance, and confidence’ to communities in Littlehampton.

More from Sussex and Hampshire News

On Air Now Tanya McCarthy 6:30am - 10:00am
Now Playing
Power Of A Woman Eternal
Recently Played
  • What Do You Believe In Rag'n'bone Man 7:35
  • Buffalo Stance Neneh Cherry 7:31
  • I Feel It Coming The Weeknd 7:24