Key Links



Death Penalty


Justice System





Practitioner Links

Domestic Violence

Mental Disorder

Restorative Justice

Sex Offenders

Substance Misuse



News Archives: Index

October 7, 2010: Probation Set For Industrial Action

October 5, 2010: Turning Prisoners Into Taxpayers

October 4, 2010: Murder Changes Now In Force

September 20, 2010: Probation Programmes Face Cuts

August 24, 2010: Victorian Poor Law Records Online

August 10, 2010: Justice Job Cuts

July 28, 2010: Prison Violence Growing

July 22, 2010: Police Numbers: Latest Figures

July 22, 2010: New Jurisdiction Rules

July 16, 2010: CCJS On Prison And Probation Spending Under Labour

July 15, 2010: Latest Statistics On Violent And Sexual Crime

July 15, 2010: Latest National Crime Figures

July 15, 2010: New Chief Prisons Inspector

July 14, 2010: Hard Times Ahead For Prisons: Anne Owers

July 14, 2010: Prison Does Not Work: Ken Clarke

July 13, 2010: Criminal Justice Reform: Sentencing and Rehabilitation

July 13, 2010: Criminal Justice Reform Priorities

July 12, 2010: What Price Public Protection, Asks Probation Chief Inspector

July 12, 2010: NOMS has failed, says Napo

July 10, 2010: IPCC To Investigate Death of Raoul Moat

July 9, 2010: Women In Prison: New Report

July 9, 2009: Unjust Deserts: Imprisonment for Public Protection

July 8, 2010: Police Search Powers Change

July 7, 2010: Make 'Legal High' Illegal, Says ACMD

July 2, 2010: Failing Children In Prison

July 2, 2010: Police Buried Under a Blizzard of Guidance: HMIC

July 1, 2010: Freedom To Change The Law?

June 30, 2010: A New Outlook On Penal Reform?

June 30, 2010: Revolving Door Of Offending Must Stop, Says Clarke

June 30, 2010: Ken Clarke: Speech on Criminal Justice Reform

June 29, 2010: No More Police Targets

June 26, 2010: Family Intervention Projects Questioned

June 25, 2010: Cutting Criminal Justice

June 24, 2010: Napo on Sex Offenders Report

June 23, 2010: Closing Courts: The Cuts Begin

June 23, 2010: Strategy To Tackle Gangs

June 15, 2010: Courts and Mentally Disordered Offenders

June 8, 2010: Working With Muslims in Prison

June 1, 2010: Your Chance To Nominate a QC

January 19, 2006: New Powers for Community Support Officers

The Home Office has announced a robust set of standard powers for Community Support Officers (CSOs). At present the powers available to CSOs vary from police force to police force, which can cause misunderstanding their role. There are currently over 6300 CSOs across England and Wales. The Government has made a commitment to increase this to 24,000 by 2008.

Under the Police Reform Act 2002 Chief Constables have the power to designate CSOs from a range of powers set out in Schedule 4 to that Act. At present, this means that CSOs in different forces can be designated with some of the available powers, all of the powers, or occasionally none of the powers. The proposed standard set will ensure that CSOs in all areas have the powers necessary to deal with issues they are likely to encounter on the street while leaving the designation of a number of powers to the discretion of Chief Officers.

In addition to the standard set of powers, it is proposed to extend the power to take part in truancy sweeps to CSOs. The Government believes that CSOs are well placed to undertake this activity given their local knowledge of children in their area. This was one of a number of measures outlined recently as part of the Government's Respect Action plan designed to combat the causes of anti-social behaviour and promote respect in society.

Home Office Minister Hazel Blears said:

'Community Support Officers are valuable members of the police family and provide excellent support to local communities. They have been well received by the public and been effective in tackling low-level crime, disorder and anti-social behaviour as well as helping to restore respect in local communities.

'Introducing a standard set of robust powers for CSOs will allow them to contribute fully to neighbourhood policing and handle more issues on-the-spot, without recourse to a police constable. It will also help the public understand exactly what CSOs can do, and free up more police time to deal with serious offences.

'By including a number of important powers - such as the power to issue a fixed penalty notice for littering or graffiti, or to confiscate drugs or alcohol - we are ensuring that CSOs have the tools to deal effectively with low level crime and anti-social behaviour.”

Proposals for the standard set of powers and the additional power will be brought before Parliament in forthcoming legislation.