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Community wardens to get more power
6:00pm Monday 16th April 2012 in Oxford
COUNCIL wardens in Oxford could be armed with police powers from June to start handing out more on-the-spot fines.
Under the move it will also be an offence to refuse to give one of Oxford City Council’s 10 community wardens a name and address.
The authority, which has begun training staff, will be the first in the Thames Valley to have the powers.
Currently wardens can issue £80 fines for littering, fly posting and graffiti and £50 for dog fouling.
But if the bid is approved by Thames Valley Police, they will be able to hand out £30 fines to cyclists riding on footpaths and confiscate alcohol and tobacco from youngsters.
They will also be able to request names and addresses of those behaving anti- socially.
Laurie-Jane Taylor, team leader for the council’s community response team, said the Community Safety Accreditation Scheme would give the wardens more authority when tackling antisocial behaviour.
She said: “The main reason is that it will give us that recognition within the community.
“Obviously we aren’t the police and we aren’t coming in from that perspective. We want to ease and prevent anti-social behaviour.
“It’s about having the acknowledgement from them (offenders) that we do have the authority to deal with certain issues.”
The wardens will also be able to request a name and address for any fixed-penalty-notice and to refuse would be an offence.
Oxford police commander, Acting Superintendent Chris Sharp, said he was fully behind the move.
“It will support us and help PCSOs in their duties,” said Mr Sharp.
Superintendent Amanda Pearson, Local Police Area Commander for Oxford, is set to approve the accreditation by June.
But Andy Viney, secretary of the Thames Valley Police Federation, said it was important to leave policing to police officers.
He said: “We are sceptical as to the end motives of what the local authority is trying to achieve.
“We are quite happy for members of the extended police family to have certain powers providing these powers don’t effectively make them constables.
“This will lead to considerable confusion from the public about who is who and what they can and what they can’t do.”