Councils are cutting staff numbers

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PA

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The variety of lollipop males and females has fallen virtually 1 / 4 in 5 years

Security campaigners say cuts to the variety of lollipop women and men close to colleges are “jeopardising lives”.

The variety of them funded by councils in Nice Britain has fallen by 1,500, virtually 1 / 4, in 5 years, figures obtained by the BBC present.

Some councils are consulting on eradicating funding for crossing wardens solely resulting from price range pressures.

The Native Authorities Affiliation mentioned councils have been making an attempt to keep up crossing patrols wherever potential.

Figures on the cuts in lollipop warden posts equate to a lack of virtually one in 4 from exterior colleges.

The figures don’t embody volunteers or these now funded by colleges or different teams, which means there could also be different wardens working. Historically, the position has been a service run and funded by councils.

‘Stopping tragedies’

Stephen Twigg, a Labour MP who campaigns to enhance highway security by colleges, mentioned dad and mom can be involved.

“Faculty crossing patrols play an important half in stopping tragedies from occurring however they’ve borne the brunt of cuts in authorities funding to native authorities in recent times,” he mentioned.

“The protection of youngsters shouldn’t be compromised consequently.”

The London borough of Hounslow went from using 22 wardens in 2013 to simply two in an space with 25,000 state-funded main college pupils.

Newcastle Metropolis Council has “reluctantly” minimize officer numbers from 64 in 2013 to seven – a drop of just about 90% – due to authorities cuts.

In Kent, the biggest schooling authority in Britain, the council now employs 137 wardens in comparison with 258 5 years in the past – a lack of 121.

The council mentioned it had struggled to recruit folks to vacant posts and had constructed a zebra or pelican crossing as a substitute at a lot of websites.

The Scottish council of Midlothian was one of many few to extend the variety of wardens it has out there, with numbers leaping 20% from 54 in 2013 to 65.

Of the 9 councils to have revealed a rise in employees, 5 have been in Scotland.

The BBC contacted each native authority with duty for lollipop folks. Two thirds of councils replied with comparable information, which means the true lack of employees might be considerably larger.

About 85% of authorities that responded to a BBC Freedom of Data request had minimize warden numbers since 2013 and solely 7% had elevated them.

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Street security charity Brake agreed the cuts are “jeopardising lives”.

Joshua Harris, director of campaigns, mentioned: “Final 12 months, 1,638 kids have been killed or severely injured whereas biking or strolling on British roads – that is greater than 4 households receiving devastating information day-after-day.

“We’d like motion now, with funding in protected crossings for youngsters, extra funding in biking and strolling infrastructure and 20mph velocity limits because the default in communities.”

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Laurence Sleator

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Rosaleen Littlejohn, 72, has been a lollipop girl in Hackney for 10 years

Rosaleen Littlejohn, who has spent the previous decade serving 12 colleges in Hackney, mentioned wardens act because the “eyes and ears” of the world.

From her spot exterior Sir Thomas Abney Major Faculty the 72-year-old sees her position as essential to everybody, younger and outdated.

“In addition to for security, I really feel we’re right here to assist the group,” she mentioned.

“It is not only for kids both – one 12 months a girl in her 80s was blown over within the wind on this highway. Now she will not cross the road with out holding my arm.

“I actually get pleasure from it, it is rewarding to see the look on the children’ faces, as they’re at all times so happy to see me.”

Not a authorized obligation

Native authorities have to advertise highway security, however offering lollipop folks isn’t a authorized obligation.

Some councils are even contemplating pulling cash from their service solely.

Staffordshire’s wardens are under threat, because the council consults on eradicating all 240 positions from their payroll from September 2019 due to “unprecedented monetary challenges”.

The council would nonetheless make use of wardens and supply coaching however funding can be on the discretion of fogeys or colleges.

Birmingham Metropolis Council – which has minimize numbers closely in recent times – might take away all its officers by not changing them once they depart or retire.

The council is encouraging dad and mom and colleges to step in and lift the funds, with the council offering coaching, uniforms and supervision.

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Hackney Council

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This letter to a Hackney lollipop girl was from a toddler who needed to thank her

Wardens sometimes earn between £7.83 to £10.55 an hour and work a couple of hours every week.

To put in a zebra or pelican crossing, as some councils have been doing to interchange wardens, it could value as much as £30,000 and £50,000 respectively.

The Native Authorities Affiliation mentioned councils attempt to keep college crossing patrols wherever potential.

“Many councils have been compelled to evaluation this discretionary service resulting from important pressures on their budgets and growing demand for statutory companies, reminiscent of kids’s companies and grownup social care,” mentioned transport spokesman Martin Tett.

Knowledge journalism and charts by Daniel Wainwright