June 18th, 2008

The Grauniads

Posted in Other Stuff by 200

Guardian AngelsI was saddened to learn this week that the UK Chapter of the Guardian Angels is on the brink of disolution (if you can disolve a ‘chapter’). 

You remember the Guardian Angels? Set up by one Curtis Sliwa in New York 30 years ago, a citizen volunteer group assisting to keep the streets safe. They came to the UK in 1989, a bit like the Specials only with hipper clothes; they wear a red bomber jacket & beret.

Chief UK Angel, Andreas Schoyen, says that the UK branch which, at one time, had several hundred members, currently has just two. He puts the decline of the Angels down to the fact that the UK is now so dangerous. "It’s hard to get people to volunteer because they see a stream of beatings, knifings & murders. They know they’ll be putting their lives at risk & that’s a big ask." (I thought only sports reporters said things were a ‘big ask’)

He describes the streets of Britain as being worse than 1980s New York. "I’ve seen a  dramatic change here in the last few years. The streets have become a very dangerous place & we’ve so few members we can’t patrol at the moment."

I remember the fanfare when they came over here, pretty much the same shock & horror which greeted the advent of PCSOs except without the vigilantiism. To be honest, I had no idea the concept was still alive; I’ve not heard anything about them for about 9 1/2 years, and was quite surprised that they still, just about, exist.

No worry, though because they’ve launched a recruitment drive. Hopefully this will coincide with the time my 200 weeks is finally up, I could do with a new challenge.

If you want to join me, check them out at www.guardianangels.org, say 200weeks sent you!

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  1. chief heckler says:

    This guy that you have got pictured here is nothing to do with Guardian Angels

    The real reason why GA UK has not worked is that we DO have a police service and we DO have eyes and ears in the form of PCSO’s unlike places in USA were GA originated

    For GA UK to work they need to diversify.

    I would support GA UK 100%

    PS less of the BS GA UK has never had several hundred members

    Also the real reason why people don’t want to join is APATHY. People simply can’t be bothered to volunteer for an organisation that has existed for thirty years that has no credible backing

    June 20th, 2008 at 12:00

  2. 200 says:

    chief heckler,
    the image was just one randomly picked via Google to show what a Guardian Angel looks like. I assume he is or was a GA in the States, hence wearing all the clothes.
    It’s strange that the GA seem to be still working in the States & other countries where they’ve had police forces for, ooh, a lot longer than they’ve had GA.
    And the demise of the GA over here came about, I;m sure, before the introduction of PCSOs. I;d be interested in how you know so much about them, and if you do, what was their top membership. I got the number from a newspaper article which quoted Mr Schoyen.
    I’d a gree with you about the apathy though, that & the diminishing feeling of ‘society’ we’ve experienced in the last 30 years.

    June 22nd, 2008 at 02:41

  3. chief heckler says:

    I have traveled around US extensively and outside of the cities the only police force you have is the State Patrol a conception that any european would find hard to grasp

    Its not professional for me to reveal my sources but the image that you have published is an embarrasment to the organization in UK

    GA’s have largely survived from the publicity which in turn has created out of pocket donations that was created by the group arriving in town to clean up the streets

    One of the concepts of PCSO’s was to be the “eyes and ears” of the police service and to get back to the grass roots of the community, broadly similar to GA safety patrols which have been in existence for 30 years

    June 24th, 2008 at 22:44

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