it's possible that not everyone picked up on this - just before christmas, the council announced community wardens were to be given new powers (effective from jan 2012) which will allow them to stop people cycling on 'footpaths' and 'pedestrian areas'; request name and address of people carrying out certain forms of anti-social behaviour; selling alcohol to someone who is drunk; grafitti etc.
these new powers were simply 'announced', not even remotely explained, which never helps.
there's no publicly available information about the nature of the 'training' the community wardens received - when it comes to grafitti, for example, would have they had art, art history, sociology & psychology training? why stop at 'visual' forms of expression and not target poetry or public speaking too?
how can 'cycling on pedestrian areas' be identified as top 'danger' when some car drivers and their cars are killing people on our roads? etc
i've only had a limited experience of community wardens in action, on one occasion, the trained cws quoted 'trespassing' as the reason local residents protesting against the tree felling should not be in burgess park...
would be great to hear what others think about this? the council's statement is here: http://www.southwark.gov.uk/news/article/578/community_wardens_in_southwark_first_in_london_to_get_new_powers
Does this new ability of the plastic police to request "names and addresses of those caught carrying out certain forms of antisocial behaviour" imply that members of the public are under the same obligation to provide the information as if it were from a proper, professional policeman?
i've got my 'nobody knows' card up now, rambling phil. the thing is, the police may 'request your name and address' but you still don't have to give it to them - i think the only instance when you actually have to give your name and address is to the arresting officer or if you're arrested and taken to prison. or something along those lines. but legally, 'requesting' and 'having the right to obtain' are different? or linguistically. and it's certainly worth clarifying?
what i tend to find perplexing is the 'focus' of this exercise. we live very close to two schools. every single time the school day ends, roads are full of community wardens and community support officers making sure the kids 'behave'. (because, presumably, if kids are not watched, they might er talk to each other? behave in a child-like manner?!) this has been going on for a while and as far as i'm concerned, the one thing this does is criminalise them while they're young.
when it comes to 'drunk people', i don't drink at all, and i don't like being around people who are drunk. and it makes no difference if these people are in pubs or out in public spaces. the first thing i thought when i read that particular 'new power' was wow the community wardens will be raiding pubs/supermarkets etc.
grrrr it really makes me angry