Community Safety Accreditation Scheme

Background to the scheme

It is widely accepted that uniform presence on the streets and other public places has long ceased to be the sole preserve of police officers and public demand for uniformed foot patrols shows no sign of abating. As a consequence, the last decade has witnessed the expansion of privately funded security patrols on our estates and in our shopping centres. More recently, a variety of warden schemes have involved local authorities and other agencies or partnerships in peacekeeping and community safety patrols, utilising paid and trained staff. Hitherto such individuals and groups were not considered to be part of the police service in anyway. The introduction of the Crime and Disorder Act saw great steps in the bringing together of the partner organisations to work together to address community safety issues.

The development of these "mixed patrols" incorporating Police Community Support Officers and wardens brings with it the need for assurance as to its probity, professionalism and the ability to deliver a high quality service to the public. This has offered the police service the opportunity to act as guide and close partner to other organisations and agencies thus giving rise to the "extended police family"

An underlying principle of accreditation is that the Scheme and Gwent Police will complement each other to provide an improved service to the public, based on mutual support. This will inevitably provide advantages to the Scheme, Gwent Police and the public at large. It should be noted at the outset that neither the Scheme nor Gwent Police are seeking to usurp the other's functions, but to complement the other's functions. It is expected that Accreditation will raise the status and profile of the partners to the scheme.

The Police Reform Act 2002 ("the Act") introduced a system whereby persons who are not police officers may exercise certain police powers. Under Section 40 of the Act it is stated that the Chief Officer of Police of any police force may, if s/he considers that it is appropriate to do so (for the purposes set out in Section 40(3) of the Act) establish and maintain a scheme to be known as a "Community Safety Accreditation Scheme".

The purposes set out in Section 40(3) are:

  • contributing to community safety and security
  • in co-operation with the police force for the area, combating crime and disorder, public nuisance and other forms of anti-social behaviour

Section 41 of the Act refers to accreditation under Community Safety Accreditation Schemes where the Chief Officer has entered into arrangements with any employer in respect of the carrying out of community safety functions by employees of that employer.

Section 41(2) enables the Chief Officer of Police to grant accreditation to any employee of the employer where an application has been made in the manner required by the Chief Officer of Police. A Chief Officer of Police shall not grant accreditation to a person under Section 41 unless s/he is satisfied:-

  • that the person's employer is a fit and proper person to supervise the carrying out of the functions for the purposes of which the accreditation is to be granted
  • that the person herself/himself is a suitable person to exercise the powers that will be conferred on her/him by virtue of the accreditation
  • that the person is capable of effectively carrying out the functions for the purposes of which those powers are to be conferred on her/him
  • that the person has received adequate training for the exercise of those powers. (Section 41 (4)

In addition, Section 41(5) allows a Chief Officer of Police to charge such a fee as s/he considers appropriate for considering an application for or the renewal of an accreditation under this section and/or granting such an accreditation.

Where the Chief Officer has granted accreditation to an employee under Section 41 then Schedule 5 of the Act (which sets out the powers that may be conferred on accredited persons) shall have effect (with any restrictions and/or conditions deemed appropriate by the Chief Officer). The powers detailed in Schedule 5 are set out in Appendix A attached hereto.

Section 41(6) of the Act states that a person authorised or required to do anything by virtue of an accreditation under Section 41

  • (a) shall not be authorised or required by virtue of that accreditation to engage in any conduct otherwise than in course of her/his employment by the employer with whom the Chief Officer of Police has entered into the arrangements referred to above
  • (b) shall be so authorised or required subject to such other restrictions and conditions (if any) as may be specified in his accreditation.

For the purposes of clarity Section 41 (6) means that any accredited powers are only exercisable during the course of the Accredited Person's employment with the Accredited Organisation.

An accreditation ceases to have effect (a) if the accredited person ceases to be an employee of the person with whom the Chief Officer of Police has entered into the arrangements; or (b) if those arrangements are terminated or expire (see Section 41(8)).

Save where an accreditation has been previously withdrawn or ceases to have effect in accordance with Section 41(8), then the accreditation shall remain in force for such a period as may be specified in the accreditation. However, the accreditation may be renewed at any time with effect from the time when it would otherwise expire (see Section 41(7). The renewal application may not be made more than 6 months prior to the expiry of the current accreditation.

Supplementary Provisions relating to Accreditation

Section 42 of the Act contains supplementary provisions relating to designations and accreditation generally. Those provisions which are relevant to an accreditation under Section 41 are as follows:-

42(1) A person who exercises or performs any power or duty in relation to any person in reliance on her/his designation under Section 38 or 39 or her/his accreditation under Section 41, or who purports to do so, shall produce that designation or accreditation to that person, if requested to do so.

42(2) A power exercisable by any person in reliance on her/his designation by a Chief Officer of Police under Section 38 or 39 or her/his accreditation under Section 41 shall be exercisable only by a person wearing such uniform as may be:-

  • a. determined or approved for the purposes of this Chapter by the Chief Officer of Police who granted the designation or accreditation
  • b. identified or described in the designation or accreditation; and in the case of an accredited person, such a power shall be exercisable only if s/he is also wearing such badge as may be specified for the purposes of this subsection by the Secretary of State, and is wearing it in such manner, or in such place, as may be so specified

42(3) A Chief Officer of Police who has granted a designation or accreditation to any person under Section 38, 39 or 41 may at any time, by notice to the designated or accredited person, modify or withdraw that designation or accreditation.

42(4) Where any person's accreditation under Section 41 is modified or withdrawn, the Chief Officer giving notice of the modification or withdrawal shall send a copy of the notice to the employer responsible for supervising that person in the carrying out of the functions for the purposes of which the accreditation was granted.

42(5) For the purposes of determining liability for the unlawful conduct of employees of a person with whom a Chief Officer of Police has entered into any arrangements for the purposes of a community safety accreditation scheme, conduct by such an employee in reliance or purported reliance on an accreditation under Section 41 shall be taken to be conduct in the course of her/his employment by that employer; and, in the case of a tort, that employer shall fall to be treated as a joint tortfeasor accordingly. Any reference to joint tortfeasors means the employee and employer and not Gwent Police.

Gwent Police Accreditation Scheme

The Accreditation Scheme that Gwent Police proposes to implement is an Accreditation Scheme under Section 41 of the Act. It is therefore the intention of the Chief Constable of Gwent Police to offer certain employers an accreditation scheme in respect of the carrying out of certain community safety functions as detailed in Appendix A. All employers will be considered for accreditation under the Scheme. This will incorporate local authorities and private companies that represent the Gwent Police area and such other public bodies or managing agents, acting on behalf of such local authorities or other public bodies, which, in the reasonable opinion of the Chief Constable, are able to meet the criteria for accreditation set out in this document. The two elements incorporated into the accreditation process are accreditation of the employer and of the employee.

Although the accreditation scheme referred to under the Act is in respect of employees only, Gwent Police needs to satisfy itself that employers who want to take the benefit of the Scheme have appropriate procedures and policies in place to properly supervise accredited employees. Therefore it is the intention of Gwent Police to "accredit" employers which meet this criteria in accordance with the procedure set out within this document.

Schedule 5 of the Act details the powers that can be exercised by an Accredited Person if specified within the Accreditation. Apart from those powers, no person will receive accreditation to enforce any powers other than those available to the ordinary citizen.

The Accreditation Scheme proposed by Gwent Police is drafted in accordance with the Guidance issued by the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO).

Any subsequent application for Accreditation by the Vehicle and Operators Standards Agency (VOSA) will be administered by reference to this document. The Department of Transport, ACPO and other stakeholders in the road haulage sector are devising standards for the escort of abnormal loads (this will cover regulations as well as the power to direct traffic available under the Act). Any applicant intending to apply for these powers will be required to achieve the National Standards for driving (including stopping vehicles) as developed by ACPO and VOSA.

Further information can be obtained from:
    Leeanne Husselbee on (01633) 247910 or [email protected].

Organisations Accredited To Date

Newport City Council

Community Safety Wardens

Caerphilly County Borough Council

Community Safety Wardens

Trading Standards Across 5 Local Authorities

VOSA

Welsh Cycling