Security guards and town hall workers are being armed with sweeping police-style powers, it has emerged.
For a few hundred pounds, state and private sector employees can receive Home Office accreditation.
This allows them to hand out fines for a raft of offences, from dropping litter to riding a bike on the pavement.
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They can also stop cars to check their tax discs, seize alcohol from underage drinkers and demand people’s names and addresses.
The hope is that they will free up rank-and-file officers from having to perform these unpopular tasks. The uniformed, badged army of snoopers will become a vital part of the ‘extended police family’, ministers say.
But privacy campaigners have dubbed them Home Secretary Jacqui Smith’s ‘Stasi’ after the East German secret police.
- A d v e r t i s e m e n t
Phil Booth of NO2ID said: ‘This is a sinister move towards a Stasi snooper state in which jobsworths are devolved the powers of the police – including the right to demand you identify yourself.’
Shadow Home Secretary Dominic Grieve added: ‘This is a consequence of the Government’s obsession with policing on the cheap as well as their staggering complacency towards the extension of surveillance by an increasing amount of different bodies.