Community safety accreditation schemes (CSAS) enable the chief constable of a police force in the United Kingdom (except Scotland ) to grant a limited range of police powers to employees of non-police organisations bolstering 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.

Originally introduced in 2005 across England and Wales it provides greater opportunity for Community based organisation and the police to work in partnership to ensure safer communities.

The accreditation gives support to Police Officers across a range of lower level crime and is designed to free up Police time for serious crime investigation and response . It provides an “Accredited Person” with powers to enforce nuisance crimes, anti social behaviour, including public space protection orders, by requesting the name and address of any individuals breaching these and/or acting in an anti-social manner and reporting them to the relevant authorities. A full list of available powers can be found here:

CSAS Powers

A full list of available powers can be found here:

An Accredited Person does not have the power of arrest. They form part of the extended policing family, giving them an official capacity to deal with offences. They can be identified by their CSAS badges making them clearly visible to members of the public.

It means they can work more closely in partnership with the police and other organisations to provide a safer community and improve the quality of life for people.

Whilst CSAS is first and foremost about partnership working, it is a formal offence not to comply with a CSAS Accredited Person’s lawful directions. Alongside this, police will work to highlight crime prevention opportunities and ensure they are sharing information to the benefit of the community.

A good example of how this is working in a daily capacity, is the scheme run by Transport for London (TfL). TfL have had CSAS accredited employees since 2013. They have three devisions who operate within their designated Police powers under the scheme and have around 250 staff accredited.

Road Transport Enforcement Officers (RTEO) who have responsibility for patrolling the road networks in London ensuring that traffic is kept on the move as much as is reasonably practicable. Duties includes traffic directions at Tunnels such as Rotherhithe and co-ordinating pedestrian and vehicle traffic across road junctions where the traffic lights have failed until emergency repairs can be affected. They also provide mobile patrols to ensure that they vital Red Routes across the capital are kept free from unlawful parking and obstructions.

Taxi/Private Hire Enforcement (TPH) with the powers to stop and direct traffic, they carry out road side traffic stops without the need for a Police presence. This enables more enforcement against illegal and non-compliant activity to be carried out, improving the safety of taxi and private hire passengers while freeing up valuable police resources. Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: ‘The safety of Londoners is my number-one priority, and with the growth of the private hire industry in London it is essential we give our compliance officers real powers to clamp down on illegal activity, and take action against unsafe and unlicensed vehicles.

Revenue Protection Investigators (RPI) Working on the rail and bus networks across London, they are committed to a fair and proactive approach in preventing and reducing the level of fare evasion on its services and offences of work-related violence against its employees in the course of their duties. A TfL RPI recently wrote “The accreditation enables us to do our job more effectively. The majority of people we talk to understand that their needs are to be protected. By having CSAS accreditation it shows we are working with the police to prevent and detect offences of fare evasion and counterfeiting of TfL travel tickets.

What is the Public Perception?

Today if you are walking along any High Street in the UK, you will see various uniformed men and women, employed as shopping centre security, private guards at commercial premises, park wardens and street wardens. At sporting and entertainment venues you will encounter uniformed stewards, and traffic marshals . Often wearing clothing that is hard to differentiate from that of a Police Constable who has sworn an oath to the Queen to uphold the law. All will have some capacity and duty for the safety and security of the public. No wonder that people get confused and bewildered!

Having had a full Police career, with a number of years leading a community team, I know and understand that policing today is not done in isolation. Partnerships and collaborations with other agencies in local neighbourhoods is necessary and good in the pursuit of prevention and detection of crime, reassuring communities that they can live safely and securely. Although the scheme has been in effect in some forces since 2003, overt uniformed community safety services is poorly understood. Although often mistaken for Police Officers, once discovered as not being so, they are often challenged about their authority and legality. Taxi drivers will state that only the police can stop them, young people under the age of 18 will challenge the right to have their alcohol confiscated and persons acting in an anti social manner may refuse to accept the issue of a penalty notice.

Time for a review?

The National Business Crime Centre (NBCC) support and co-ordinates with communication across all 43 Police Forces to share best practice. There are only a handful of training providers accredited with Police CPI responsible for the vetting of participants in the scheme. Focus needs to include business, local authorities, further education and security companies. There is a need to highlight the benefits of the CSAS scheme. More work needs to be done within police forces so that they give greater respect to CSAS personnel and realise what an asset they can be. The perception of an Accredited Person in the eyes of the public needs to be improved with an awareness campaign to promote and explain the benefits of the scheme. Police Forces and the public can benefit from the support the many Accredited Persons now daily on patrol, can do in terms of safety of crowded spaces with the updated training they now receive. They have skills and knowledge to undertake for example, counter terrorism initiatives. In emergency situations they are an additional uniformed and trained resource that can be mobilised to support the Emergency services.

About the Author

Steve Laws is the Director of Safe and Trained (part of The Tess Group) a training provider delivering safety and security courses (including CSAS) across the UK.

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