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PARK KEEPERS TO RETURN BY POPULAR DEMAND IN LONDON BOROUGH

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Uniformed park caretakers will soon be seen patrolling parks in a bid to ...
Uniformed park caretakers will soon be seen patrolling parks in a bid to

keep the borough's open spaces cleaner and free of anti-social behaviour.

Barking and Dagenham LBC leisure services are introducing park

caretakers into seven of the borough's parks & open spaces to compliment the

council's ongoing commitment to the community priority of 'Cleaner,

Greener, Safer'.

Local residents have made it clear in discussion with councillors at

community forums, that they consider the safety and upkeep of parks a

priority and the council has responded by establishing a brand new service

of uniformed caretakers who will patrol the borough's parks.

In total there will be seven park caretakers, with one assigned to each park

during the hours of 7.30am to 4pm, throughout the rest of the summer

holidays and into the autumn. There will always be one park caretaker on

duty during these times.

Council leader Charles Fairbrass welcomed the new service

saying: 'The introduction of park caretakers to compliment the ranger and

constabulary services demonstrates that the council places great importance

on providing cleaner, greener, safer parks.'

Head of leisure services, Allan Aubrey added: 'It is important to realise

that the introduction of park caretakers is in addition to the parks

constabulary and parks & countryside ranger service and is a new service.

'By having a visible uniformed patrol service in seven of the borough's main

parks it is hoped that the problems of anti-social behaviour that

unfortunately do occur will be reduced. This is the start of many changes

that need to take place in the way parks are managed and patrolled.

'By listening to what was said at the area forums it was important the

changes started as quick as possible. It is my job to look at more ways to

improve the parks and open spaces to best use the resource available to make

a difference in the eyes of the people that visit the parks.'

Park caretakers will be responsible for patrolling the parks on foot,

ensuring that each park is clean and tidy and responding to customer

complaints and enquires.

The parks to be manned are Central Park, Barking Park, St Chad's Park, Old

Dagenham Park, Parsloes Park, Greatfield Park and Mayesbrook Park.

Park caretakers will be easily recognisable to the public through their

distinctive blue uniform and will also carry council radios so that they can

contact other members of staff (such as the parks constabulary) in the case

of dealing with emergencies or anti-social behaviour.

The park caretakers service will compliment the existing park constabulary

and parks & countryside rangers services who will patrol when caretakers are

not on duty. The three groups will work together to cover the vast majority

of the time that the parks are being used by the public seven days a week.

Owing to the introduction of the caretaking staff, the shift patterns of the

parks constabulary are currently being reviewed to allow more constables on

patrol at the later 'busy' times within parks.

The new park caretakers' scheme will be reviewed after six months to see how

successful it has been and consideration will then be given to extending the

cover in current parks and to other parks and open spaces within the

borough.

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