A COMMUNITY warden and his team are calling on people to keep working together to stay safe and minimise coronavirus infections.

Father-of-five, Tim Davies, has been working for Cherwell District Council as part of its community safety team for 15 years in Bicester.

He is encouraging people to abide by Government rules and take safety measures, as part of the council's #stopthespread campaign.

The 52-year-old and his team had to change the way they work when the pandemic broke out.

He said: "Before the pandemic, our daily patrols would see us performing tasks like breaking up anti-social behaviour, enforcing alcohol licensing rules, and working with the police to help fight organised crime.

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“But we adapted the way we work at the start of the Covid-19 crisis. We changed our shift patterns so that we could patrol public spaces seven days a week after dark. We decided it was a more effective way of discouraging large gatherings where people were at higher risk of catching the virus.”

Mr Davies has had to support vulnerable people, particularly during lockdown.

He said: “We’ve also been visiting more vulnerable people, such as those shielding during the lockdown to make sure they’ve got access to the support that is out there, and that’s been really rewarding.

"At the other end of the spectrum, we’ve even had to respond to reports of people being deliberately coughed on.”

The community warden works closely with the police, social services and other local agencies.

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Cherwell was one of the first councils to join the police’s community safety accreditation scheme, granting the officers in Mr Davies' team some police enforcement powers.

Although he has formal powers, enforcement is just a small part of the job. Advice and reassurance are his first port of call.

His message to the community he serves is about tolerance. He added: “During this coronavirus pandemic, we are all learning. It’s always worth staying mindful that we live in diverse communities where people live different lifestyles."

"The virus has magnified some things, but I really believe that most problems can be overcome with a bit of understanding and respect."