Search Legislation

Police Reform Act 2002

Part 4: Police Powers etc.

Chapter 1: Exercise of police powers etc. by civilians

25.As proposed in Policing a New Century: A Blueprint for Reform, the Act provides for specified police support staff and civilians to be given particular powers in various defined circumstances in order to perform certain defined functions. The purpose of this is three-fold:

  • Firstly, it is intended to free up police officer time for their core functions by making more effective use of support staff, including detention officers, escort officers, and investigating officers acting as Scenes of Crime Officers (SOCOs).

  • Secondly, as part of the drive to tackle crime more effectively, it is the Government’s intention to enable forces to employ specialist investigating officers to provide expertise in combating specialist crime involving areas such as finance and Information Technology. The Act enables such investigators to be granted the powers necessary to enable them to do their job effectively.

  • Thirdly, it is designed to provide additional capacity to combat low level disorder, and thereby help reduce the public’s fear of crime. The Act enables chief officers to appoint suitable support staff (‘community support officers’) to roles providing a visible presence in the community, with powers sufficient to deal with minor issues. Such staff would be under the formal direction and control of the chief officer. The Government also wants to harness the commitment of those already involved in crime reduction activities, such as traffic wardens, neighbourhood and street wardens and security staff, through an extended police family. The Act makes provision for community safety accreditation schemes and a railway safety accreditation scheme and, in certain circumstances, the granting of limited powers to accredited members of those schemes.

Back to top

Options/Help

Print Options

Close

Explanatory Notes

Text created by the government department responsible for the subject matter of the Act to explain what the Act sets out to achieve and to make the Act accessible to readers who are not legally qualified. Explanatory Notes were introduced in 1999 and accompany all Public Acts except Appropriation, Consolidated Fund, Finance and Consolidation Acts.

Close

More Resources

Access essential accompanying documents and information for this legislation item from this tab. Dependent on the legislation item being viewed this may include:

  • the original print PDF of the as enacted version that was used for the print copy
  • lists of changes made by and/or affecting this legislation item
  • confers power and blanket amendment details
  • all formats of all associated documents
  • correction slips
  • links to related legislation and further information resources