Our mission? To place design between crime and the community

Kent Police hosted their second Designing Out Crime seminar recently, highlighting how incorporating proven crime prevention techniques into new developments and homes at the planning stage reduces both the opportunity for crime and the fear of crime.

The seminar, held at Kent Police’s Headquarters in Maidstone, heard from Secured by Design (SBD) Senior Technical Officer Michael Brooke and Kent Police Designing Out Crime Officers Linda Mason and Adrian Fromm that as well as lower levels of crime, the benefits include reduced repair and maintenance, reduced demand on other emergency services and agencies, higher occupation levels, long-term sustainability and ultimately, reduced misery. There was also a presentation from a Counter Terrorism Security Advisor.

Michael Brooke

Independent academic research has proven that incorporating crime prevention measures into the layout and landscaping, and the physical security of buildings, could reduce crime like burglaries by up to 75% compared to equivalent non-SBD estates.

Linda and Adrian work with architects, developers and planners to design out crime at the drawing board stage across Kent from the fringes of Greater London to the channel ports. They are part of a national network of police officers and staff trained by Secured by Design, the national police crime prevention initiative, which works alongside Police Forces throughout the UK to reduce crime and keep communities safer.

The audience of architects, developers, local authority planners and representatives from housing associations was urged that, whatever their role in the planning process, they should always consider new developments from the perspective of the criminal and to work with the police to put in place measures that will serve to deter criminals, creating a safe and sustainable community where people want to live, work and visit for years to come.

The current National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF), which sets out the Government’s planning policies for England, which is under review, highlights the need to create safe and accessible environments where crime and disorder and the fear of crime do not undermine quality of life or community cohesion.

The Crime and Disorder Act 1998 requires local authorities to exercise their functions with due regard to their likely effect on crime and disorder, and to do all they reasonably can to prevent crime and disorder in their local areas, including anti-social behaviour and other behaviour adversely affecting the local environment.

Linda Mason said; “The seminars are designed to bring together those that help shape the built environment to hear bespoke presentations and have the opportunity to question speakers and liaise with one another. There was a presentation designed to help the attendees understand the techniques of Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design to meet the pace and variety of development in Kent. The improvements gained from this approach with planning officers from across the county will be beneficial now and in the future. The presentation also included details of the current crime trends and levels and how they can be addressed within the planning process”.

Michael Brooke also informed the seminar of SBD’s Police Preferred Specification for products like doors and windows, which encourages manufacturers to produce products that are of consistent quality over time and sufficiently robust to resist physical attack.

In addition, SBD has a National Building Approval scheme, which makes it simpler, quicker and cheaper for companies and organisations commissioning construction work to achieve Building Regulation compliance for security.

Guidance on SBD’s crime prevention techniques for a number of different building sectors and details of companies and products which meet the Police Preferred Specification are available on SBD’s website www.securedbydesign.com

The Seminar also included an input from a Counter Terrorism Security Advisor. It addressed how developments should consider potential threats at the design stage of a planning application, focussing on the nature of the development, the geography of the development and the importance of surveillance. The thought provoking presentation included examples of materials and objects that could be used in specific locations. The use of the free Counter Terrorism E-learning package was also encouraged, named Act Awareness, it can be found on – www.gov.uk/government/news/act-awareness-elearning