Security guards could be given power to hand out £80 fines to drunken and rowdy troublemakers in A&E

  • Security guards would also be allowed to confiscate alcohol 
  • The Police Federation is concerned about 'the gradual erosion of warranted police officers' but the Government claims it will reduce violence on the wards
Controversial: Private security guards would be able to impose £80 on-the-spot fines for rowdy patients in hospitals under radical new plans being discussed by the government

Controversial: Private security guards would be able to impose £80 on-the-spot fines for rowdy patients in hospitals under radical new plans being discussed by the government

Private security firms could impose on-the-spot fines to rowdy troublemakers in A&E to help reduce the growing violence in Britain's hospital wards.

Under the controversial proposals, the guards working for the firms would also be allowed to confiscate alcohol from those who are taken to emergency departments following drunken disorder.

The government hopes the £80 penalties will assist medics who are often threatened with violence. It is also considering a move to allow the NHS to apply for antisocial behaviour injuctions which could see persistent troublemakers banned from the wards.

The Police Federation met the idea with concern claiming the move it was not in the public's best interest.

Paul McKeever, chairman of the Police Federation of England and Wales, said: 'The public should be greatly concerned about the gradual erosion of warranted police officers and the attempt to fill the gap with private security guards and police community support officers.'

But the Government claimed the plans - part of its alcohol strategy - were designed to hand back power to the community.

A spokesman told The Times: 'We will support NHS trusts and foundation trusts to work with their local police to ensure that appropriate action is taken, including through hospital security staff being empowered through the Community Safety Accreditation Scheme.

'Under this scheme, accredited staff can be given powers to issue penalty notices for disorder to those individuals whose drunken behaviour is likely to cause harassment, alarm or distress. They can also take action against the consumption of alcohol in a designated public place.'

There are already a number of hospitals in the UK which have piloted similar schemes.

Security staff at Addenbrooke's Hospital in Cambridge can demand the name and address of problem patients and issue an £80 fine for anti-social behaviour while in the building.

Powers: Security staff at Addenbrooke's Hospital in Cambridge can already demand the name and address of problem patients and issue an £80 fine for anti-social behaviour inside the hospital

Powers: Security staff at Addenbrooke's Hospital in Cambridge can already demand the name and address of problem patients and issue an £80 fine for anti-social behaviour inside the hospital

Clampdown: Security guards at Basildon Hospital in Essex have had similar powers to those currently being discussed by the Government for four years but have not yet used them

Clampdown: Security guards at Basildon Hospital in Essex have had similar powers to those currently being discussed by the Government for four years but have not yet used them

At Basildon Hospital, Essex, security guards have had similar powers for four years but have not yet used them.

Security guards would need to take a training course and would need a special badge from the chief constable of their police force before they are handed the powers.

They would not be able to detain or arrest people.

A Home Office spokesman said: 'We believe local people, services and businesses are best-placed to tackle these issues in partnership with law enforcement.

'That's why central to our alcohol strategy is ensuring local communities have the tools and powers they need to take action against irresponsible drinking and the crime and anti-social behaviour that too often results.'

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