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“We’re now in the third year of the scheme and it’s going from strength to strength”

Delegates at the 2023 Secured by Design (SBD) ATLAS national training conference and exhibition were given an insight into the Metropolitan Police’s award winning Youth and Community Centre Safety Scheme, which has been creating safer places for staff and members of the community to enjoy educational, diversionary and community based activities.

The Youth and Community Centre Safety Scheme is a blue light collaboration between the Metropolitan Police Service, London Fire Brigade, London Ambulance Service and Secured by Design which to date has seen 26 venues across the capital benefit from fully funded security upgrades, improving the safety for staff and users.

Over 200 Designing Out Crime Officers (DOCOs) from across the UK attended workshops on the scheme, hearing about its creation and ongoing success across the Capital. 

The scheme was the brainchild of Metropolitan Police Service DOCO James Smith and came about after the tragic murder of a young man in 2019 who was chased into a youth centre and stabbed. Physical security upgrades were subsequently installed at the youth centre by an SBD member company using tested and accredited security rated products which had achieved the Police Preferred Specification standard.  

In March 2020, James and his DOCO colleagues worked to secure funding from the Home Office to build on the successful intervention at the youth centre and replicate it at other youth clubs across London.  The scheme is now in its third year, with ongoing funding being provided by the Mayor of London’s Office.  

James said: “We’re now in the third year of the scheme and I’m delighted we’re going from strength to strength. 

“This was a great opportunity to showcase this initiative to our colleagues across the UK and highlight the impact that these improvements to premises can have in tackling violent crime and keeping our children and young people safe. 

“The Youth and Community Centre Safety Scheme is about finding elegant solutions to problems, it’s not about turning places into fortresses, we want places to feel welcoming to young people. 

“This scheme has flourished because there’s an excellent partnership in place here, a partnership that is leading to real safety at the venues involved. We would be delighted to see this scheme extended across the UK given its success in London”.