The Park Patrol
Ipswich Borough Council’s Park Patrol has taken up residence in The Ark, just up the hill from the Wilderness Pond. Here, Park Patrol’s Jack Taylor explains more about this vital service.
The origins of Park Patrol can be traced back to park wardens, and it is a continually evolving department based in Christchurch Park; its role changes with the demand of the times.
Once purely litter pickers, Park Patrol now undertake a plethora of additional duties to help make the parks and open spaces of Ipswich far safer and enjoyable for all users.
• Investigating and clearing fly tipped waste within the boundaries of parks and open spaces. Any incriminating documents linking the waste to the tipper are evidenced and relayed to the Borough’s Waste Enforcement department for swift investigation and prosecution.
• The enforcing of criminal law and the park’s by-laws – Park Patrol work tirelessly with many other departments and bodies to deal with all issues negatively affecting our green spaces. Unfortunately, the secluded nature of some parks can attract such issues as anti-social behaviour, drug use, drug dealing and vandalism. Park Patrol, now operating with stab vests, body worn cameras and police-grade communications, actively engage and deter offenders causing alarm in the parks. Recording and sharing the information gathered from offences with relevant organisations helps accelerate the processes required to pinpoint and tackle all the aforementioned issues, making Park Patrol an extremely valuable source of intelligence.
• Removing waste from the parks. Similar to how Park Patrol has evolved through the years, so has litter. From commercial waste being fly tipped into parks and drug paraphernalia being discarded in bushes to deceased wildlife, graffiti and broken bottles – Park Patrol are actively on the lookout to remove any offensive and harmful substances that may infect the parks.
• Moving on encampments and assisting homeless. Working with Housing Options, Ipswich Borough Council’s Rough Sleeper Project Manager and other partners, Park Patrol attempt to assist the homeless of Ipswich move out of the parks and into more suitable accommodation. This is achieved via information sharing, engagement and referrals. In the event of an illegal encampment, Park Patrol teams up with Private Sector Housing to engage and remove any unauthorised encampment sites from IBC land.
With the addition of locking and unlocking parks and toilets, engaging with the public and answering enquires, assisting with small and large-scale events, performing minor repairs and conducting thousands of health and safety inspections per year, it really wouldn’t be an understatement to refer to Park Patrol as the “Jack of all trades” of parks.