Skip to main content

Kent Police hosts its first ‘Designing Out Crime’ briefing for architects, developers and local authority planners

Support for crime prevention measures to be included into new developments and homes at the planning stage has come from Assistant Chief Constable Steve Corbishley, of Kent Police when he spoke at the county’s first ‘Designing Out Crime’ briefing for architects, developers and local authority planners.


He said that good crime prevention within the planning process reduces the opportunity for crime and the fear of crime.

“A well-designed scheme to design out crime and disorder will create a safe and sustainable community where people want to live, work and visit.

“The absence of crime and disorder is key to success. It will make communities safer for residents and reduce the demands on police resources.”

He urged the 35 specially invited members of the audience at county police HQ in Maidstone, on Thursday, 24 May that whatever their role in the planning process, they should always consider new developments from the perspective of the criminal and to work with police to put in place measures that would serve to deter criminals.

Designing out crime and designing in community safety should be central to the planning and construction of new developments, he said.

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.

In addition, 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.

Kent Police has two officers, Linda Mason and Adrian Fromm, who are known as Designing Out Crime Officers (DOCOs). They work with architects, developers and planners to design out crime at the drawing board stage across the county 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 (SBD), the national police crime prevention initiative, which works alongside Police Forces throughout the UK to reduce crime and keep communities safer.

SBD’s Senior Technical Officer Michael Brooke, who was supported by SBD Regional Development Officer Lyn Poole, told the 35-member audience that independent academic research had 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.

On 153 housing developments covering a total of 3,000 homes in Fife, Scotland, where SBD crime prevention techniques had been included over the last 20 years, crime had fallen by 87%, according to figures from Police Scotland.

Michael said SBD has created a 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.

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’, he said.

Crime prevention measures should be part of the initial planning process and be incorporated seamlessly into the local environment, such as benches, cycle stands and planters being installed to block vehicles from accessing pavements, rather than relying on huge concrete blocks being positioned to protect key buildings. “We want to avoid ugly solutions and communities looking like fortresses,” he said.

The meeting was followed by a separate session for planners. The event’s organisers, Linda Mason and Adrian Fromm, are planning a further briefing in the Autumn for those unable to attend in May.

Guidance on SBD’s crime prevention techniques for a number of different building sectors are available on SBD’s website.