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Community Support Officers

Volume 406: debated on Thursday 12 June 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will list the powers available to (a) community support officers and (b) accredited persons. [117889]

The following powers are available to both community support officers (CSOs) and accredited persons:

Power to issue fixed penalty notices for dog fouling, littering and riding a bicycle on a footpath.
Power to request a name and address for fixed penalty offences and offences that cause injury alarm and distress to another person or damage or loss of another's property.
Power to request the name and address of a person acting in an anti-social manner.
Power to request a person to stop drinking in a designated public area and to surrender open containers of alcohol.
Power to confiscate alcohol from Young Persons.
Power to confiscate cigarettes and tobacco products from young people.
Power to stop vehicles for testing.
Power to regulate traffic for the purpose of escorting abnormal loads.
Power to require the removal of abandoned vehicles.
The following powers are only available to CSOs. The first two, concerning detention, are being piloted in six police force areas only for the first two years:

Power to detain a person for up to 30 minutes pending the arrival of a constable (or to accompany that person to a police station with the person's agreement).
Power to use reasonable force to detain a person or prevent him from making off.
Power of entry to save life or limb, or to prevent serious damage to property.
Power to maintain and enforce a cordoned area established under the Terrorism Act. Power to seize vehicles used to cause alarm and distress,
Power to stop vehicles for the purposes of a road check.
Power to, when accompanied by a constable, stop and search vehicles and pedestrians under the Terrorism Act.

CSOs also have the power to issue Penalty Notices for Disorder. This power is not currently in use and is awaiting the result of a police trial before commencement. Once commenced, CSOs will be able to issue Penalty Notices for the following offences:

Being drunk on a highway, other public place or licensed premises.
Disorderly behaviour while drunk in a public place.
Throwing fireworks in a thoroughfare.
Knowingly giving false alarm to a fire brigade.
Trespassing on a railway.
Throwing stones etc. at trains and other things on railways.
Buying or attempting to buy alcohol for consumption in bar in licensed premises by a person under 18.
Wasting police time or giving false report.
Using public telecommunications systems for sending message known to be false in order to cause annoyance behaviour likely to cause harassment, alarm or distress.

As my hon. Friend will be aware, there are also currently provisions in the Anti Social Behaviour Bill to extend further the powers of both CSOs and accredited persons.

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will make a statement on the results of the pilot projects being run to test the use of the power of detention by community support officers. [117891]

Six forces are piloting the use of the power of detention by community support officers. Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary are evaluating the pilots and are due to report after 2 December 2004 on the operation of the power in its first two years. At this stage it is still too early to report on any findings from the evaluation.