Bouncers to get 'power of arrest'

THE chairman of Essex Police Federation has heavily criticised a move that could see nightclub bouncers given the power to arrest or issue fixed penalty charges to members of the public.

Roddy Ashworth

THE chairman of Essex Police Federation has heavily criticised a move that could see nightclub bouncers given the power to arrest or issue fixed penalty charges to members of the public.

Tony Rayner made his comments after Essex Police said it was prepared to grant some police powers to Braintree-based Regency Security Services Ltd under the Community Safety Accreditation Scheme.

The company, which supplies guards and doormen for a number of leisure venues and clubs across Essex and the South East, is one of the first security firms in the UK to be in line for the extended powers.


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Trained employees will be authorised to deal with a series of offences ranging from littering to anti-social behaviour.

As well as a security uniform, they will wear a nationally-recognised badge and carry an identification card stating what powers Essex Police has granted them.

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But Mr Rayner hit out at the accreditation as a “gimmick” and said he believed it could lead to conflict with the public.

“The federation is totally opposed to this because we believe police powers should be vested in the police,” he said.

“The public has a right to recognisable police officers.

“The more police powers are spread around with other agencies, such as council car park attendants and now nightclub bouncers, the more there's a risk of conflict with members of the public who won't believe they are able to give them fixed penalty notices or even arrest them.

“This is part of the con job that has been perpetrated on the public where community support officers are dressed as close to the police uniform as they can get and special constables are indistinguishable from regular PCs.”

Yesterday Paul DeAngelis, business director of Regent Security, defended the scheme, saying it would be of benefit to the police.

“We are talking about lower end police powers. Everybody with them will have been properly trained.

“The whole point of the scheme is that it is being driven by Essex Police. Accredited employees will be given a card and badge with the Essex Police crest on it next to the accreditation logo.

“It is important to recognise that the police cannot be everywhere all the time, and that an extra pair of eyes on the front line can be of help.

“We are already on the front line, and can deal with low-scale issues before they escalate into things that require the police being involved..”

A spokesman for Essex Police yesterday stressed that any employees of Regency Security would have to be vetted and trained before they were authorised to use police powers.

“This process is likely to take several weeks. It will only be at the end of this vetting and accreditation process that individual Regency Security Services staff will receive ID cards with CSAS accreditation.

“These ID cards will contain, on the reverse, any additional low-end policing powers granted to CSAS-accredited persons.

“If an accredited person seeks to use such powers in relation to a member of the public, the accredited person will display their ID card, drawing attention to the specific power as displayed there.”

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