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 has involved local authorities and other agencies or partnerships in peacekeeping and community safety patrols, utilising paid and trained staff.
However, such individuals and groups were not considered to be part of the police service. 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, wardens and other professionals brings with it the need for assurance as to their probity, professionalism and 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, spreading good practice through the 'extended police family'.
The Police Reform Act 2002 enables the Chief Constable of any constabulary to establish Community Safety Accreditation Schemes (CSAS), which aim to draw together this 'family'.
Through their employers, individuals will be able to apply for accreditation; successful application will allow the individual, known as an Accredited Person (AP), to exercise limited legal powers in areas relevant to their role.
The benefits of CSAS include:
- the standardisation of training and vetting procedures for those who carry out community safety or security patrols;
- better communication between the police and its partners;
- the formalisation of relationships within the extended police family;
- public reassurance as to the professionalism of those patrolling our streets.