Northern Ireland

Park warden system extended in Belfast after success in reducing anti-social behavior

Three parks were included in pilot scheme involving wardens working in pairs

Belfast's Woodvale Park.
Belfast's Woodvale Park.

A new pilot wardens system to tackle antisocial behaviour in Belfast parks has been lauded after three areas saw trouble reduced by over 25%.

Belfast City Council began the pilot scheme at Dunville Park, Woodvale Park and Páirc Nui Chollan last September, and it is due to run until June.

The ‘static’ park warden system has now been approved for Falls Park in west Belfast, where antisocial behaviour has increased by 29% in six months.

The pilot scheme, involving wardens working in pairs, was agreed in 2022 with the council allocating £220,254.

From the start of the pilot to February of this year, there has been a 26% decrease in antisocial behaviour at the three parks, the council’s People and Communities Committee heard this week.

A committee report recommends that the number of wardens to work in the Falls Park area should increase to three “to ensure operational requirements of the pilot at that site can be met”.

The cost of the wardens at Falls Park will be £72,000 for a six month period.

The scheme at the three parks involved in the pilot has also been extended.

Sinn Féin councillor Christina Black said the scheme has “changed the face of Dunville Park” for the better.

Thousands of pounds worth of damage has been caused to a popular play park in Dunville Park in west Belfast by vandals who set it on fire
Damage caused at Dunville Park in west Belfast in 2022.

In 2022, a series of incidents of antisocial behavior was reported at Dunville Park, which is in the Fall Road area, including thousands of pounds worth of damage being caused to playpark equipment.

This prompted the Falls Residents Association to call upon both the council and police to “up their game” in tackling the issue.