It is being reported this afternoon that security guards from The Mall in Norwich are being given powers to issue fines ranging from £50 to £80 to combat anti-social behaviour including littering, graffiti and drinking in public.
According to the Daily Mail,
The new scheme makes it a criminal offence for a member of the public to disobey an order given by an accredited security guard.
They carry identification bearing the Norfolk Police logo and can demand an individual's name and address.
There can be no doubt that we all want cleaner streets and less anti-social behaviour, but this sort of measure is unlikely to achieve either of those aims. Instead, these new officers will almost certainly suffer from the same sort of 'plastic-police' tag that almost scuppered the PCSO scheme and will find themselves all but ignored by the worst offenders.
It also risks the sort of punitive and pointless fines we have seen from litter wardens targeting people for all the wrong reasons because they haven't had the appropriate training.
If Norwich can't tackle anti-social behaviour the conventional way, building a citizen's militia is certainly not the solution.
By Dylan Sharpe