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Anti-Social Behaviour Act 2003

Section 89: Extension of powers of community support officers etc.

176.The Police Reform Act 2002 created the new civilian role of community support officer. A community support officer is a uniformed police authority employee under the direction and control of a chief officer of police who can be designated by that chief officer with a specific range of police powers set out in Part 1 of Schedule 4 to that Act.

177.The Police Reform Act also enables a chief officer of police to establish and maintain a scheme that accredits suitably skilled and trained non-police employees involved in the provision of community safety with powers to undertake specified functions in support of the police. For example, a chief officer may accredit neighbourhood wardens employed by the local authority or a social landlord, with powers to address antisocial behaviour. Regulations will be in place to enable the chief constable of the British Transport Police (BTP) to maintain a railway safety accreditation scheme, which will be similar to those of Home Office police forces.

178.Subsections (3) and (6) of this section amend the Police Reform Act 2002 by adding to the powers that can be conferred on community support officers and accredited persons. They have already been given the power to issue fixed penalty notices for cycling on the pavement. This amendment makes it easier to enforce this power by conferring power to stop cyclists. It only applies when the community support officer or accredited person believes that an offence of cycling on the pavement has been committed. Failing to stop a cycle when required to do so is an offence under the Road Traffic Act 1988 and is liable to a fixed penalty notice of £30.

179.Subsection (5) adds the power to issue fixed penalty notices for disorder under the Criminal Justice and Police Act 2001 to the powers that can be conferred on suitably trained persons who are accredited under either a community safety accreditation scheme or a railway safety accreditation scheme. This power is already available to community support officers. Accredited persons will be given the power to issue fixed penalty notices under this scheme but subsection (5) excludes two offences where the offender must be drunk for the offence to apply. The excluded offences are being drunk in a highway, other public place or licensed premises and disorderly behaviour while drunk in a public place.

180.The offences for which accredited persons will be able to issue notices are:

  • Use of insulting or abusive behaviour to cause harassment alarm or distress.

  • Throwing fireworks in a thoroughfare.

  • Trespassing on a railway

  • Throwing stone etc at trains or other things on railways

  • Buying or attempting to buy alcohol for consumption in a bar in licensed premises by a person under 18

  • Knowingly giving a false alarm to the fire brigade

  • Wasting police time or giving a false report

  • Consumption of alcohol in a designated public place

  • Using a public communications system for sending messages known to be false in order to cause annoyance.

181.Section 1(2) of the Criminal Justice and Police Act 2001 allows the Secretary of State to add to or remove from the list of offences in section 1 by order. Subsections (4) and (7) give the Secretary of State power by order to provide that any offence for the time being included in section 1 should not be one in respect of which community support officers or accredited persons can issue fixed penalty notices. New section 15A(2) and new section 9A(2) have the effect that any such order would be subject to the affirmative resolution procedure.

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