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Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Orwell’s nightmare begins: Government-paid citizen snoops in Britain

Council 'snooper' wardens rise by one fifth

(Telegraph) -- The number of wardens and private security guards with power to issue fines has risen by one fifth in only 12 months, according to new figures. There are now 1,667 park wardens, dog wardens, car park attendants and shopping centre guards permitted to hand out fines for littering, dog fouling and criminal damage, according to a report.

A further 478 civilians have been given the power to stop vehicles to check for out-of-date tax discs.

The powers are given under the Community Safety Accreditation Scheme under Jacqui Smith, the former Home Secretary.

However, critics say it creates a ‘third tier of policing’ below police and community support officers.

The accredited wardens have the power to issue penalty notices for specific offences ranging from graffiti, truanting, and throwing fireworks to trespassing on a railway, begging or dog fouling.

The figures, reported in the Daily Mail, show the number of civilians accredited under the scheme has increased from 1,406 to 1,667 in the past year.

The number of employers with accredited staff – including town halls – rose from 95 to 109.

Councils and other public sector organisations pay between £300 and £315 to be accredited to the scheme, and between £35 to £90 per employee...CONT'D...LINK

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