Renaissance, Reassurance and Restoration? Community Wardens and the urban realm in Scotland
|authors||Donna Marie Brown|
|Nicholas R. Fyfe|
|journal||EJPS (ISSN: 2034-760X)|
|date of publication||March 6, 2012|
In discussions of contemporary urban restructuring and claims about the emergence of new forms of urbanism, issues of crime control and community safety loom large as we witness significant changes in the nature of policing in urban areas. In particular, there has been the emergence of a more complex division of labour in the field of policing with phrases like the ‘extended policing family’, the ‘mixed economy of policing’ and local security networks’ increasingly used to capture the diversity of public, private and voluntary providers of policing services. It is against this background that this paper considers the introduction, role, impact and implications of Community Wardens within Scotland. Introduced in 2004 and employed by local authorities Community Wardens have responsibility for providing high visibility patrols to deter crime and anti-social behaviour as well tackling environmental issues like graffiti and vandalism. After setting out the wider policy context within which wardens are located, the paper draws on ethnographic fieldwork in one city (Dundee), to consider the wider implications of the use of Community Wardens in relation to three key questions that have been the focus of government urban policy in Scotland and the rest of the UK. First, to what extent has the introduction of Wardens contributed to a process of urban renaissance by making cities more attractive places to live and work? Second, how far have Wardens managed to narrow the so-called ‘reassurance gap’ that has emerged in UK cities as crime rates fall but peoples’ anxieties and fears about crime continue to increase? Third, can Wardens play a role in restoring relationship between individuals within communities and between communities and their local environment?