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DOCO receives Commendation for Services to Crime Prevention and Designing Out Crime

Steve Gower of Norfolk Constabulary has been commended for Services to Crime Prevention and Designing Out Crime at this year’s Secured by Design ATLAS national crime prevention conference.

Steve was commended for his proactive response towards promoting Secured by Design with architects and planners within the county of Norfolk, work which will go towards reducing the number of victims of crime and the subsequent demands this can place on policing. Steve was presented with the commendation by Police CPI CEO Guy Ferguson and Chief Constable Lauren Poultney, the National Police Chiefs’ Council Head of Profession for Designing Out Crime Officers (DOCOs).

l-r: Chief Constable Lauren Poultney, Steve Gower & Guy Ferguson

Steve has served in the Police Service for 40 years, joining Norfolk Constabulary as a teenager in 1984. He spent the first three years in King’s Lynn Town ‘walking the beat’ before progressing on to being a police car driver in the Gaywood and Fairstead Estate area of King’s Lynn. This was a challenging time as the early 1980’s was plagued by opportunist crime, and although he had no conception of the reasons this was happening, Steve was all too aware that the residential developments in the area were certainly of more benefit to the offenders than the residents or the Constabulary.

Steve explained that towards the final third of his Police service, he was finally in a position to fully understand the ‘whys’ of criminal behaviour. The alleyways, poor yellow lighting, inappropriate landscaping, unobserved car parking provision and a total lack of natural surveillance were clearly exploited by offenders. Steve made it his mission to ensure only well-designed developments made it across his desk, ensuring the Constabulary and the residents would no longer be burdened by poor design and the associated increased levels of crime and anti-social behaviour.

Once he had completed the Crime Reduction Officer’s course in 2006, gained a year’s worth of practical experience and returned to college for The Designing out Crime Course in 2007, Steve started to present SBD principles to the Local Planning Department. Over time, he developed a working relationship with the planners and was invited to their Development Control Board Meetings, where key partner agencies discuss up-and-coming developments. His attendance ensured that the Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED) message was being acknowledged, understood and implemented.

In 2014, Steve finished his career as a police officer in the Architectural Liaison department, when the role was still a police officer’s position. He then gained a position in Firearms Licensing as an Enquiry Officer, before returning to Designing Out Crime in the Summer of 2021. Steve has continued to inform others about CPTED by educating planners and applicants ever since.

The Police Crime Prevention Academy’s Guy Collyer, who nominated Steve for the commendation, said: “In recent years, Steve has taken on an outreach programme with local architects and planners within the Norfolk Constabulary area. He has delivered the RIBA endorsed crime prevention presentation to over 50 planners and architects and performs all the relevant administration duties when doing this.”

Police Designing Out Crime Officers

Police Designing Out Crime Officers (DOCOs) have a key role in implementing crime prevention into local communities by working closely with local planning authorities. Liaising with planners, architects, designers, developers and those responsible for the refurbishment of buildings of all types, DOCOs provide ongoing specialist advice to enable building designs to be as safe and secure as is reasonably possible, promoting an awareness of the principles of crime prevention through design to both build awareness of, and ensure the adoption of, recommended security standards and specifications.

DOCOs are able to deliver site specific interventions required to help design out crime in areas that suffer disproportionately from acquisitive crime, based on local crime pattern analysis, police, local authority and community engagement and the collective knowledge and experience of how criminals behave. These specialist officers are working every day to make a positive difference, changing lives for the better and helping people to be safe and secure in their homes.

Contact details for local DOCOs can be found

The ATLAS Conference and Exhibition

Every year since the mid-1990’s SBD have hosted a Continuing Professional Development training conference for the Designing Out Crime Officers and Crime Prevention Officers based in police forces around the country who deliver SBD at a local level, the ATLAS conference and exhibition.

This event sees Designing Out Crime Officers and Crime Prevention Officers coming together to stay up to date with the ever-changing landscape of new standards, statutory requirements and technical developments. With delegates attending from all over England, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales – as well as the British Transport Police and delegates from other roles within the crime prevention, planning and construction fields - it is also a chance for them to share best practice across forces and network with colleagues from around the UK.

SBD offer a number of opportunities at the ATLAS conference exclusively to member companies to interact directly with these officers and introduce them to their products and innovations. ATLAS continues to grow year on year, with this year’s being the largest ever held, with more exhibitors than ever before taking advantage of the fantastic opportunity afforded by the conference.