Wardens to patrol Paulsgrove estate

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The Independent Online

The Portsmouth housing estate where mobs of vigilante residents firebombed homes of suspected paedophiles has won a Home Office grant to set up civilian patrols.

The Portsmouth housing estate where mobs of vigilante residents firebombed homes of suspected paedophiles has won a Home Office grant to set up civilian patrols.

More than £500,000 has been awarded to the Paulsgrove and Wymering districts of the city to pay for eight "neighbourhood wardens". The city council plans to recruit residents from the areas, whose work will include patrolling the streets, tackling anti-social behaviour and supporting vulnerable house holders.

The Paulsgrove estate saw some of the most violent demonstrations against suspected paedophiles in August after the discredited "name and shame" campaign by the News of the World in which details of convicted child sex offenders were published.

Residents on the estate drew up a list of suspected offenders, some of whom were innocent, and attempted to drive them out of the area.

Brian Partridge, the head of Portsmouth council's Chief Executive's Office, said the eight uniformed "estate wardens" would be paid £17,500 a year, and would work with the police. The application for funding had been made before the violent demonstrations took place." There will be no question of any vigilantes joining - they will be properly recruited and monitored," he added.

The Home Office has awarded Portsmouth funding as part of a national drive to fund 270 civilian "wardens" to help the police in deprived communities. Fifty communities in England and Wales will receive £7.5m for "neighbourhood warden" schemes. A further £6m funding will be announced later in the year.

Police chiefs believe the wardens are the only practical way of providing greater street patrols without a huge injections of government funding. Leaders of rank and file officers have attacked the use of civilians as "policing on the cheap". The first of the new warden schemes begins in December.

The Home Office minister Charles Clarke said: "Neighbourhood wardens are not a substitute for police officers, they are a complement to them. They can improve communication between the police,residents and the local authority and mediate in minorincidents."

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