The Community Safety Accreditation Scheme (CSAS) is a system that allows organisations that are involved in community safety (and their employees) to be accredited by the police. It grants 'Accredited Persons' limited powers, which are aimed at providing a better quality of life in the community, and helps co-ordinate some activities like visible patrols and the sharing of information.
APs work for a range of organisations that may have achieved accreditation. For example, local authority neighbourhood and street wardens, housing association wardens, hospital wardens, countryside wardens, parking attendants or private security staff such as those who patrol shopping malls and town centres. They all do a valuable job in reassuring the public and contributing to the fight against crime, disorder and anti-social behaviour.
APs wear the uniform of their employing organisation with an approved badge in red, white and black positioned on the chest area of all outer clothing. They should also have a name badge or identification number on their uniform and carry an identification card that confirms what powers the individual is able to exercise.
APs are employed by the organisation that has been accredited. The police are not directly involved in the direction of APs nor do they control their role or day-to-day activities. However, by bringing them into the wider police family, there is improved liaison between the police and accredited organisations, better sharing of information and enhanced co-ordination of local problem solving initiatives.
Only after an organisation has satisfied strict criteria will it be awarded accredited status. These criteria include: strict personnel vetting, training, accountability, employee standards and approved complaints procedures. Individuals must receive training in many areas of law, procedures and powers which include human rights, race relations and equal opportunities.
Save where an accreditation has been withdrawn then the accreditation shall remain in force for such a period as may be specified in the accreditation; the Southwest Constabularies envisage an initial accreditation period of one year. However, the accreditation may be renewed at any time with effect from the time when it would otherwise expire.
An accreditation ceases to have effect if:
- the accredited person ceases to be an employee of the person with whom the Chief Constable has entered into the arrangements; or
- if those arrangements are terminated or expire.
CSAS offers the following benefits:
- By displaying the 'Community Safety Accredited' badge, the public instantly knows that the individual has reached acceptable standards of competence, training, management supervision and accountability;
- By their presence and activities, APs are able to address certain issues on the spot without the involvement of the police;
- By bringing together a wider policing family there will be considerable liaison between the police and accredited organisations. The resulting, improved sharing of information will better enable us to address and prioritise issues affecting the local communities and devise locally driven approaches to solving problems.