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“You can help now to build the better communities of tomorrow”

“You can help now to build the better communities of tomorrow” was the message from Kent Police’s Chief Inspector Guy Thompson as he opened the second Designing Out Crime seminar at Kent Police’s Headquarters.

The seminar, hosted by Kent Police in conjunction with Secured by Design, the national police crime prevention initiative, was held for architects, developers, local authority planners and representatives from housing associations. It highlighted 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.

Opening the seminar, Chief Inspector Thompson, who leads Kent Police’s Partnership and Communities Department, said: “Sir Robert Peel once said that the test of police efficiency is the absence of crime and disorder and not the visible evidence of police action in dealing with it, and looking forward you need to be seen as working towards that – these are your communities, your buildings and they need to be sustainable, reduce crime and create a safe environment.

“Most large developers have a social responsibility policy and that, in my view, should also link to the longer term considerations to the communities they create.

“We’ve all seen developments since the 1960’s that have not been the best for crime reduction, for community cohesion or crime prevention, and some of those are now being demolished. Designing out crime and designing in community safety should be central to the planning and construction of new developments and this is supported by National Planning Policy Framework.

“The work that you do in developing sites and developing buildings, houses and communities is not really fully understood until 20-25 years down the road - because if you get it wrong it has a huge impact on that community later on. Good crime prevention in the planning process reduces the opportunity for crime and also the fear of crime. A well designed scheme to design out crime and disorder will create a safe and sustainable community that people want to live, work and visit”.

Summing up, Chief Inspector Thompson asked those present to consider how a criminal may exploit the development and a development’s layout and how they as developers, designers and architects could mitigate this. He also asked that they consider their social responsibility, ensuring that the buildings being erected, the roads being built and the communities being created were conducive to good communities of tomorrow, as well as ensuring that they contact the police Designing Out Crime Officers before submitting planning applications to ensure time was saved in the planning process.

In conclusion Chief Inspector Thompson said “Working with the police Designing Out Crime Officers you can help to build now the better communities of tomorrow”.

Secured by Design (SBD) is a police-owned organisation that works on behalf of the Police Service throughout the UK to deliver a wide range of crime prevention and demand reduction initiatives.

SBD plays a significant crime prevention role in the planning process to design out crime in a wide range of building sectors. It has achieved some significant success including one million homes built to SBD standards with reductions in crime of up to 87%.

SBD have many partner organisations, ranging from the Home Office, Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government and the Police Service through to local authorities, housing associations, developers and manufacturers and work closely with standards and certification bodies to ensure that their publicly available standards actually meet the needs of the police and public alike.

Products must be subjected to vigorous testing and auditing by an accredited third party organisation before being allowed to carry the SBD logo – this is the only way for companies to obtain police accreditation for security related products in the UK.

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