Could Police and Crime Commissioner Alan Hardwick's police volunteers replace Lincoln's axed urban rangers?
Police volunteers could be called upon to help protect Lincoln’s green open spaces from vandalism and anti-social behaviour.
A special meeting of the city’s commons advisory panel on Saturday September 7 will discuss future options after the urban rangers and commons warden were axed in council cuts.
Lincolnshire Police and Crime Commissioner Alan Hardwick is due to attend to hear people’s concerns.
He told the Echo: “I am concerned about losing the urban rangers and while I do understand why the service was withdrawn, I’m going to this meeting to listen to people’s ideas about what might replace them.
“The sound of the rangers’ motorcycles was a good deterrent and I do feel that the lack of motorcycles is not a good thing when it comes to controlling anti-social behaviour.
“This is where my idea of recruiting 1,000 volunteers to the police force over three years could come into play.
“A ranger sort of role might prove ideal for some volunteers.
“Extra eyes are going to do an awful lot of good.”
George Woolfenden, a member of the Commons Advisory Panel who represents the West End Residents’ Association, said: “We need someone to be available as and when required.
“The meeting is to discuss a way forward without the urban rangers and commons warden.
“The police have to take responsibility now for the commons and anything that goes off on them.
“We have no urban rangers and no contact after 5pm.
“We recognise the police have priorities but the commons need some protection.”
John Shipton, a member of the commons advisory panel, who lives in the Long Leys Road area of Lincoln, said: “I think getting rid of the urban rangers has backfired because parks are being vandalised now.
“If I was asked to go along as a volunteer if someone was ripping up fencing and having a bonfire who’s going to back me up?”
The City of Lincoln Council scrapped the urban rangers earlier this year to save £383,000 over the next five years, with a further saving of £157,000 from axing the wardens service.
The authority needs to save £3 million by 2016/17, including £1 million in 2013/14, to balance the books.
The meeting at the Grandstand, in Carholme Road, is at 2.30pm on Saturday, September 7.