A growing army of private security guards and town hall snoopers with sweeping police-style powers is being quietly established, the Daily Mail can reveal.
Under a Home Office-run scheme, people such as park wardens, dog wardens, car park attendants and shopping centre guards receive the powers if they undergo training, and pay a small fee to their local police force.
Their powers include issuing £60 fines for truancy and dropping litter, and being able to demand a person’s name and address on the street.
Under the Community Safety Accreditation Scheme, the number of civilians wearing a special badge, and a uniform approved by the local chief constable, has rocketed by almost 30 per cent in a year and there are now 1,406.
Critics claim Home Secretary Jacqui Smith is quietly seeking to create a third-tier within the ‘policing family’, with even less training and accountability than the controversial Police Community Support Officers.