Community Safety Accreditation Scheme
Community Safety Accreditation Schemes are a means by which the Chief Constable of a police force in the United Kingdom may grant a limited range of police powers to employees of non-police organisations who contribute towards community safety. Community Safety Accreditation Schemes were created under section 40 of the Police Reform Act 2002. Individuals who have been granted these powers are known under the Act as Accredited Persons.
A Chief Constable may grant some or all of the following powers to an Accredited Person as part of a Community Safety Accreditation Scheme:
- The power to:
- require the name and address of a person who has committed a criminal offence that causes injury, alarm and distress to another person or damage or loss of another's property, or to whom a penalty notices has been issued;
- require the name and address of a person acting in an anti-social manner;
- require a person to stop drinking in a designated public place and confiscate and dispose of alcohol being consumed in a designated place;
- confiscate alcohol from young people;
- confiscate cigarettes and tobacco products from young people;
- require the removal of abandoned vehicles;
- stop cyclists if they are suspected of having committed the offence of riding on a footpath;
- stop a vehicle for the purposes of an inspection;
- control traffic for the purpose of escorting abnormal loads, for the purpose of conducting a traffic survey, and for other purposes
- The power to issue a fixed penalty notice:
- The power to issue a penalty notice for disorder for:
- the sale of alcohol to person aged under 18;
- buying or attempting to buy alcohol for consumption by a person aged under 18;
- consumption of alcohol by a person aged under 18 or allowing such consumption;
- delivery of alcohol to a person aged under 18 or allowing such delivery;
- possession by a person aged under 18 of an adult firework;
- wasting police time or giving a false report;
- behaviour likely to cause harassment, alarm or distress;
The powers available to individuals accredited under a Community Safety Accreditation Scheme are similar to those of a Police Community Support Officer (PCSO), although PCSOs are designated with powers by the Chief Constable, opposed to being accredited with them as non-employees.
The Act also makes it a criminal offence to assault, resist or obstruct an Accredited Person in the execution of their duty, or impersonate an Accredited Person.
Requirements for accreditation
A person accredited under a Community Safety Accreditation Scheme has to be assessed as suitable to exercise the powers, trained by an ACPO approved provider in their use, and vetting to a national standard. The Act also requires that the organisation employing an accredited person must be 'fit and proper' and that they must have a satisfactory complaints procedure in place.
An accredited person remains under the control of their normal employer, and is not managed or tasked by the police force. Some Accredited Persons are tasked by their respective police force to conduct patrols, attend incidents and gather intell, such as the Community Protection Officers of Nottingham City Council who work with Nottinghamshire Police. These officers carry police Airwave radios and are dispatched to incidents by the force control room.
Accredited Persons must wear a uniform approved by the police when exercising their powers, and carry an ID card which also shows the powers they are authorised to use. Some forces print the powers on the back of the ID card, while others give the employees a separate powers card specifically for this.
Common examples of employees granted powers under a Community Safety Accreditation Scheme include security guards, community, parish, park and dog wardens, trading standards officers, and housing association staff.
- Community wardens working for Teignbridge District Council,
- Security guards employed by MacLellan International Ltd at The Mall Shopping Centre at Cribbs Causeway near Bristol.
- Southend Hospital
- Basildon Hospital
- Braintree District Council
- Basildon District Council Anti Social Behaviour Wardens
- Maldon District Council
- Colchester Borough Council
- Chelmer Housing
- Royals Shopping Centre
- Nottingham City Council Community Protection Officers who work alongside Nottinghamshire Police
An audit published by the Home Office in August 2008 showed that 21 out of 42 police forces had granted Accredited Person status to a total of 1,406 people in 95 organisations. 19 of the employing organisations were private companies. Essex Police had accredited the most people, 291 individuals in 25 organisations.
The powers which had been granted most widely (by more than 20 forces) were the power to seize alcohol from a person aged under 18 in a designated place, the power to seize tobacco from a person under 16, and the power to require the name and address of a person acting in an anti-social manner.
- Community Safety Accreditation Schemes Good Practice Guidance, Home Office website
- Guidance on Community Safety Accreditation Schemes, Association of Chief Police Officers website
- Text of the Police Reform Act 2002 as in force today (including any amendments) within the United Kingdom, from the UK Statute Law Database
- Schedule 5 of the Police Reform Act 2002. See also Powers available to persons accredited under Community Safety Accreditation Schemes, Home Office website, retrieved 29 August 2008
- Section 41 of the Police Reform Act 2002
- CSAS Outside Partners, Avon and Somerset Constabulary website, retrieved 29 August 2008
- CSAS Accredited Organisations, Essex Police website, retrieved 29 August 2008
- Community Safety Accreditation Schemes national audit, Home Office website, retrieved 29 August 2008