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7 March 2011, 05:00
Some bus inspectors in Norfolk and Suffolk now have the same powers as police officers.
Chosen staff from First Eastern Counties Buses have signed up to the scheme, which allows them to be granted selected policing powers agreed by police in Suffolk, Norfolk and Essex. It is hoped that, by giving them these powers such as asking for a name and address, they will be able to tackle anti-social behaviour.
Chief Insp Kerry Pauling from Suffolk Police said: "The scheme underpins the commitment of all those involved to work in partnership with the community to improve the quality of life in Suffolk and Norfolk. This scheme also strengthens our links with local businesses and further increases public reassurance by supporting our Safer Neighbourhood Teams (SNTs). Accreditation works hand in hand with neighbourhood policing to provide local effective solutions tailored to the community they serve."
David Cane is the Community Safety Accreditation Co-ordinator at Suffolk Police and told Heart that people should give the trained inspectors the same respect as they would to the police: "Whilst they're not police officers, they do have policing powers and if you don't adhere to the request then you would be open to prosecution and the implications of someone going away with a criminal record for possibly a request that is only asking for a name and address."
Accredited people wear their own organisation's uniform and will have a nationally identified logo to show that they are accredited, as well as an identification card clearly setting out the specific policing powers the person is trained in and which they are authorised to use.
Each accredited person has to meet specific standards and their own organisation will have its own policies and procedures assessed and quality assured. Everyone accredited is vetted to the same high standard as police officers and police staff.