Park keepers return to the capital

Security the goal of new London park keepers.

The traditional “parkie” is set to make a comeback in central London for the first time in a decade. The role was phased out in the 1990s as a result of compulsory competitive tendering. But Westminster City Council has agreed to reintroduce the traditional park keeper to help deter petty crime and anti-social behaviour. Cabinet member for street environment Cllr Alan Bradley said: “Westminster council is taking the lead to ensure that safety and security does not just begin and end at the park gates.” As part of three new, eight-year contracts with landscape construction and maintenance company Continental Landscapes, the council will employ 38 uniformed park wardens through Continental to patrol Westminster’s 54 main parks. The wardens will have the power to enforce local by-laws, such as being able to ask rough sleepers to move and for people to stay off the grass. Continental’s senior contracts manager at Westminster David Whitlock said: “We will work with Westminster to make sure visitors to London leave with a good impression of our capital.”

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