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Have your say on plans to cut community warden service

Police and Crime Commissioner Ann Barnes with two KCC wardens

Community wardens, pictured with Police and Crime Commissioner Ann Barnes, work closely with Kent Police

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COMMUNITY wardens who work with some of the county’s most vulnerable residents are to have their numbers slashed in half.

Kent County Council bosses plan to reduce numbers of the wardens from 79 to 40 as part of plans to save £1.2 million.

The cut will save more than £1 million, and admin posts, supervisors and area managers are also being affected.

Consultation on the plans begins today (Monday), and officials say there will still be wardens working with communities.

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Mike Hill, KCC’s cabinet member for community services, said: “In principle, as much of the reduction as possible has been taken from the management and administration costs of the service. We believe we have produced a plan for a robust warden service across the county.”

He said there was no statutory obligation to provide the service, started 12 years ago.

Since then, the financial situation has changed and Cllr Hill said the council needed to examine all its services.

Wardens work with residents and partner agencies to tackle issues including bogus callers, fly tipping, graffiti and vandalism. They also patrol the streets, talking to young people, checking on vulnerable residents and providing a reassuring presence.

The proposed changes would see them working across many areas, including town centres, rather than single parishes, and would see team leaders and area managers also taking more of a hands-on role.

There could also be volunteer wardens, and parish councils could pay for more cover.

Officials say wardens would be able to spend more time with the communities that need their help the most and less time on admin work. There would be two area managers, responsible for six districts, six team leaders (instead of 12 at the moment, and one admin worker, cut from four.

The consultation runs until November 9, and the results will be reported to the environment and transport committee on December 5.

To have your say, visit kent.gov.uk/communitywardenconsultation or complete the questionnaire at the end of a booklet available from the wardens. Alternatively, call KCC’s Contact Centre on 03000 414141 to request a booklet is posted to you.

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