Case Studies

Wardens in NI

by Mark Rowe

Pictured: Damien McConnell, one of the Mercury Security wardens of a community safety initiative being piloted in Crumlin in Northern Ireland.

The Crumlin Community Safety Warden Scheme, funded by Antrim Policing and Community Safety Partnership (PCSP) and managed by Mercury Security Management, has been put in place to address low-level anti-social behaviour.

As part of the scheme, running since January, Mercury Security provides wardens to carry out foot patrolling in a bid to build local knowledge, maximise community engagement and identify the community’s needs as well as particular areas at risk of anti-social behaviour. Wardens gather information, identify potential problems and provide reports or make referrals to partner agencies including the PSNI, Antrim Borough Council, NEELB and Northern Ireland Housing Executive.

Councillor Trevor Clarke MLA (Antrim PCSP Chairperson) said: “I am delighted that the Community Safety Warden Scheme is being so warmly welcomed by the community in Crumlin. Antrim PCSP wanted to implement a warden scheme that was embedded in the community and which effectively deals with the community safety issues directly affecting the residents of Crumlin. The members of Antrim PCSP agree that we have begun to achieve that in Crumlin and I very much hope the community in Crumlin will continue to support Antrim PCSP as it sources additional funding to further develop this scheme.”

One local resident who has lived in Crumlin for almost 80 years said: “I’ve lived in Crumlin all my life and I have to say that the quality of life has definitely improved since the wardens came here. Residents now feel safe to travel into the Main Street at night to do some shopping knowing that the wardens are on the ground. It’s nice that the wardens stop and speak to you and offer help and assistance if needed. After nearly 80 years in the area, I feel that we’ve finally got our street back.”

An established town trader also welcomed the scheme: “We think the Community Safety Warden Scheme has definitely had a positive impact on Crumlin. The wardens are highly visible patrolling the area and have done a great job with young people, interacting with them and encouraging them not to get into any trouble. There are certainly less gangs hanging about and the town feels quieter and safer.”

Inspector James Nesbitt of the PSNI said: “The key to the success of this scheme has been the close partnerships forged between local police, the wardens and our residents. By working together we have been able to combine our knowledge and experience and use it to address issues and concerns identified by local people such as low level anti-social behaviour. We have seen this joined up approach have a positive impact locally and we hope to continue to work closely together to ensure our residents enjoy a good quality village life.”

At Mercury John Terrett said: “We commend Antrim Policing and Community Safety Partnership on their vision to initiate a programme of this nature and the feedback we’ve received from all members of the Crumlin community since we started the scheme has been fantastic. Through regular interaction with the local police, Council, businesses, community stakeholders and vulnerable groups, the scheme has been a huge success in terms of improving community relations, increasing confidence and reducing the fear of crime throughout the area.”

Mercury Security has been operating a similar Town Centre Safety Warden service to the Ballymena Policing and Community Safety Partnership since September. Wardens have provided a ‘reassuring presence’ in Ballymena’s town centre, liaising with the police in relation to any retail crime, anti-social behaviour and general crime problems identified.

About Mercury Security Management Ltd

Founded in 2001, Mercury operates out of offices in Lisburn, London and the Republic of Ireland and offers a range of services including CCTV remote monitoring, manned guarding and concierge services, key-holding and alarm response, satellite-tracked mobile patrols, staff and vehicle escort services, lone worker monitoring, vehicle and asset tracking, approved and accredited training.

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