Safety in green spaces
Enfield said they used to have park rangers in some parks but they have been ‘replaced’ by a dedicated PCSOs team. What are other boroughs doing? Who should be ‘policing’ our green spaces and what should be expected of them?
In Haringey, as a result of lobbying, the money previously used to pay for park police now goes towards staffing the parks instead. The Metropolitan Police have to cover green spaces anyway. Real safety comes as a result of having well-managed and well-used parks.
The situation is similar in Bromley. The parks are patrolled by Safer Neighbourhoods teams and there are some rangers. But is this working?
In Camden, the parks are also patrolled by Safer Neighbourhood teams and at least one park has a head gardener.
The Metropolitan Police control the traffic in Richmond Park when they turn up, but they don’t seem to be concerned about other environmental ‘crimes’. It would be better to have people on the ground educating park users about not feeding the deer etc. It is hard to get the Met involved when vandalism and drug taking happens in parks. The situation was much better when rangers patrolled, but they are gone.
Wandsworth Common did have dedicated park police, but it now has a small, dedicated Met team, which seems to do a fairly good job.
In Lewisham, they are making links with their councillors to help develop links with the Met and to help in the fight against development.
In Hammersmith and Fulham, there are a few park police but the service is managed with other boroughs so it takes the police ages to arrive when they are called because they are so far away.