What is the Community Safety Accreditation Scheme (CSAS)?
The Community Safety Accreditation Scheme (CSAS) allows organisations and their employees to be given targeted police powers to deal with incidents such as anti-social behaviour, disorder and nuisance.
Accredited persons can also act as the 'eyes and ears' of the police to improve the quality of life issues (such as littering, underage drinking and graffiti) in the local community.
Who can be accredited?
Any organisation involved in community safety can apply for the accreditation of its employees.
Employers who might seek accreditation include local authorities, housing associations, private traffic management companies, security firms, NHS trusts, charitable organisations and some companies in the leisure industry (such as stewards in sports stadia or traffic marshals at marathons etc).
Examples of schemes include Street Wardens and Park Rangers.
What is the legislation?
CSAS was introduced following the Police Reform Act 2002 (PRA). CSAS provides for those involved in the provision of overt community safety services to exercise a limited range of powers designed to enable them to assist the police in tackling anti-social behaviour.
Section 40 of the Act states that the Chief Officer of any police force may establish and maintain a scheme and Section 41(2) enables them to grant accreditation.
What are the powers?
The powers currently available to an accredited person are set out in Schedule 5 of the Police Reform Act 2002. These include issuing fixed penalty notices for various low level offences, power to control traffic and the power to require giving of name and address.
Accredited persons may only exercise the specific powers included in their accreditation and only in the force area where they are accredited.
Do accredited persons have to take on powers available under accreditation?
Accredited persons do not have to be issued with all or any of the powers that are available. They only take on the ones that they and Thames Valley Police feel would be of particular use to them.
What are the benefits to Thames Valley Police?
CSAS facilitates those involved in community safety to engage more closely with us at a strategic and tactical level, improving intelligence and partnership working.
What are the benefits to an organisation of becoming accredited?
Employees of approved organisations can be designated with limited, targeted powers (subject to satisfactory vetting clearance and training). These powers can help to improve the impact they are having on community safety, anti-social behaviour and liveability issues.
Employers benefit from public confidence that their employees have reached acceptable standards of appearance, suitability for the post and training. In turn, the public is assured that the organisation itself has been approved by the Chief Constable and has therefore reached acceptable standards in management, supervision and accountability.
Are accredited people employed by the police?
No. Accredited persons are employed by the organisation that has been accredited. The police are not directly involved in the direction of accredited persons or in controlling their roles or day-to-day activities, but they are involved in checking their suitability before they are granted accreditation status.
What is the difference between Police Community Support Officers and accredited persons?
Unlike accredited persons, Police Community Support Officers (PCSOs) are employed by the Police and Crime Commissioner. They are police staff and act under the full control of the Chief Constable. They are eligible for a similar, though larger range of powers than accredited persons. A significant difference is that PCSOs can detain a suspect for 30 minutes if they believe they have been given a false name and address under certain circumstances. They can also be designated with a number of search and seizure powers that are not available to accredited persons.
How do I recognise an accredited person?
Accredited persons wear the uniform of their employing organisation and display a nationally agreed badge with the CSAS logo. Thames Valley Police will issue them with a CSAS identification and powers card which has their name, photo and the powers they have been granted.They are required to carry this card and produce it each time they use their accredited powers (with the exception of controlling traffic).
What does the CSAS badge look like?
The badge features the nationally recognised red and black CSAS logo. The badge must be worn on the uniform of the accredited person before they can exercise any of the powers granted to them under an accreditation. It is to be displayed in the chest region of the uniform to ensure proper visibility when dealing with members of the public face to face.
Under what conditions can accredited persons exercise their power?
Accredited persons can only exercise their powers in the areas of the force agreed in their accreditation. This is with the exception of the power to direct traffic for the purposes of escorting an abnormal load. Accredited persons must be clearly displaying the accreditation badge and wearing their employer's uniform.
Can an accredited person detain someone who gives them a false name and address when being given a Fixed Penalty Notice?
No. Accredited persons do not have any special powers of arrest or detention.
Can an offence be committed against an accredited person?
Yes - it is an offence to:
- Assault, resist or wilfully obstruct an accredited person in the execution of their duty or any person assisting them;
- Impersonate an accredited person with intent to deceive or make any statement or do any act calculated to falsely suggest that a person is accredited.
- It is also an offence for an AP to make any statement or do any act calculated to suggest that they have powers which exceed the powers they actually hold.
How do members of the public complain about an accredited person?
Section 40(9) of the Police Reform Act 2002 states that a force should ensure that the employers concerned have satisfactory arrangements for handling complaints. Each organisation that employs accredited persons, will have its own complaints procedure to which members of the public should first apply.
What standards need to be reached?
The Police Reform Act sets out a number of requirements on force chief officers before they can make an accreditation. They must be satisfied of the following:
- The employing organisation must have a satisfactory complaints procedure (PRA 2002 40).
- The employing organisation must be fit and proper person to supervise the work of an accredited person (PRA 2002 41[4a]).
- The employee is suitable to exercise the powers that are to be conferred upon him (PRA 2002 41[4b]).
- The employee is capable of effectively carrying out the functions for the purpose of which these powers are being conferred upon him (PRA 2002 41[4c]).
- The employee has received adequate training for the exercise of these powers (PRA 2002 41[4d]).
What training is required to be accredited?
The Police Reform Act 2002 41(4d) states that a force Chief Officer may not grant accreditation unless satisfied that the person concerned has received adequate training for the exercise of his powers. The extent of the training required will vary depending on the role being carried out by the accredited person and the powers that will be designated to them.
It is the responsibility of the approved employer to ensure its employees receive adequate training to the force’s satisfaction.
What checking procedures does a person need to go through to be eligible for accreditation?
All accredited persons are vetted to Non Police Personnel Vetting (NPPV) Level 2.
Who is liable if an accredited person is sued for unlawful conduct?
Accredited persons remain under the control of their employer and in the event of a civil action resulting from the unlawful conduct of an accredited person, the employer is held to be joint tortfeasor.
What if not all the employees of my organisation are suitable for accreditation?
This could happen. Not all of the employees an organisation puts forward may meet the standards required. There is no general solution to this problem and responses will differ depending on the numbers of employees affected, the deployment requirements of the employers and the views of the force. Potential solutions include only accrediting supervisors, the redeployment of those who do not meet the standards, or choosing to postpone accreditation altogether. Whatever the favoured option it will clearly require sensitive management by the employers and the force.