Security staff at The Lexicon have been given greater powers to help curb anti-social behaviour (ASB), which the council are using as a ‘pilot’ in the hope of rolling them out to its officers. 

Staff at Bracknell’s flagship shopping centre can, amongst a raft of other measures, confiscate alcohol from anyone underage – a power afforded to them under the Community Safety Accreditation Scheme (CSAS). 

CSAS creates a framework for public and private bodies to “work in partnership” with the police, which allows a Chief Constable to accredit staff with powers to tackle ASB. 

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Cllr Sandra Ingham told Bracknell Forest Council’s Communities and Environment Overview and Scrutiny Panel last week (November 24) that the nine separate powers given to The Lexicon staff are a “good idea” and the scheme can be used “as a pilot” before CSAS accreditation is issued to council officers. 

As well as the ability to demand under 18’s surrender alcohol, the staff also have the power to; stop cycles, deal with begging, issue fixed penalty notices (FPN’s) for cycling on a footpath, issue FPN’s for graffiti and flyposting, issue FPN’s on behalf of the council for breaches of the alcohol public space protection order, photograph a person away from a police station, and ask for names and addresses. 

Cllr Michael Brossard called the increased powers for The Lexicon staff a “great achievement” and the range of opportunity to issue penalty notices a “great, great development.” 

He added: “Overdue, but I think we are getting there because I think there is a little bit of ASB in The Lexicon and it does need to be nipped in the bud.”  

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Chair of the Communities and Environment Overview and Scrutiny Panel, Cllr John Porter, agreed, suggesting the powers are “very, very good and long may it continue”. 

The council will now wait to see how The Lexicon gets on and gauge feedback from Bracknell residents prior to adopting the scheme more widely, with the aim of tackling other cases of ASB happening throughout the borough. 

Cllr Ian Kirke said “the beauty” of CSAS is it has a far broader engagement rather than just against very specific types of incidents, so believes the return on investment is a “no brainer”. 

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Chairman of the Communities and Environment Overview and Scrutiny Panel, Cllr John Porter, said this point is “one of our strongest recommendations” but wants to make sure it wouldn’t put council officers “at risk of being assaulted”. 

Cllr Kirke responded: “The smallest part of the equation is the actual powers, it’s all about safety and education first off.   

“[…] if the risk is too high, officers are trained very capably to disengage with those situations. Safety is a real priority.”