Community warden bosses have come under fire for seeking “police powers” to tackle antisocial behaviour.

Under the plans, people deemed to be behaving antisocially will be breaking the law if they refuse to give the council wardens their name and address.

Those who refuse will be committing a criminal offence and details will be passed to police.

Oxford City Council is also asking Thames Valley Police for power to issue on-the-spot fines for people riding bicycles on footpaths and to confiscate alcohol and tobacco from youngsters.

It is the first time an Oxfordshire council has applied for the powers.

Council and police chiefs said the move would “complement” frontline police officers but critics said the council was effectively taking on a police role.

Laurie-Jane Taylor, team leader for the council’s community response team (CRT), which is seeking the powers, said: “One of the things that very occasionally happens is we can’t get the information we need on an incident because people aren’t willing to co-operate.

“It doesn’t happen often but this give us that back-up.

“Why is it a police person’s job? We already deal with antisocial behaviour.”

She pledged the powers would be reviewed and monitored regularly.

Thames Valley Police Authority has agreed to begin the accreditation process of the CRT using powers from the 2002 Police Reform Act. No decisions have been made.

Superintendent Amanda Pearson, local police area commander for Oxford City, said: “Our consultations with communities shows that some still have concerns about antisocial behaviour and it impacts on their feelings of how safe their area is.

“The accreditation of the CRT allows public recognition and acknowledgement of that effective joint working and affords the option of granting them powers to add to their toolkit of interventions to deal with anti-social behaviour.”

She said frontline police officers had not been axed in Oxford and council wardens were complementary to the work of frontline teams, not a replacement.

She said details on the level of training for the wardens had not been set out.

But Sgt Graham Smith, chairman of the Thames Valley division of the Police Federation, which represents rank and file officers, hit out.

He said: “Policing should be in the hands of police officers and the police service.

“Community wardens do a good job and their role is sometimes a bridge with the police.

“But if you give these powers you break down that bridge and they will be enforcing rather than working with the community. It will bring them into conflict with their community.”

Peter Wilkinson, of Rose Hill Tenants’ and Residents’ Association, welcomed the plans.

He said: “In the past, Rose Hill has seen an awful lot of antisocial behaviour.

“I’m glad to say that is no longer the case, it hasn’t been for two or three years, and I think that is largely down to the wardens and the PCSOs.”

He said gangs of children intimidated residents and vandalism was common.

He said of the plans: “I am all in favour. I think the problem with the street wardens has been that they have had limited powers.”

A spokesman for civil liberties group Liberty said: “While the police are properly trained to tackle criminal activity and protect the public, environmental and housing officers – for example – are not.

“The Government should urgently review this legislation.”

Currently, people given a fixed penalty notice have 14 days to pay in person at the council. Wardens can request names and addresses for £80 fines for littering, fly posting and graffiti and £50 for dog fouling.

Those who refuse to give the details are committing an offence.

Police can issue £30 fixed penalty notices for riding bikes on footpaths.