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“We are continually striving to ensure that the design of new developments always minimises the opportunity for crime across Kent” - Kent Police host third Designing Out Crime seminar

Kent Police has hosted its latest in a series of ‘Designing Out Crime’ seminars for architects, developers and local authority planners.

The seminar, the third one hosted by Kent Police, 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.

The specially invited audience at Kent Police’s Headquarters in Maidstone were urged to always consider new developments from the perspective of the criminal and to work with police to put in place measures that will serve to deter criminals, creating a safe and sustainable community for years to come.

Secured by Design (SBD) Development Officer, Lyn Poole explained that independent academic research has proven that incorporating crime prevention measures into the layout and landscaping, and the physical security of buildings, can reduce crime like burglaries by huge amounts 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 has been included over the last 20 years, crime has fallen by 87%, according to figures from Police Scotland.

Lyn explained about 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. She also explained the benefits of SBD’s 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.

Katie Downs, the National Designing out Crime Manager for British Transport Police, gave an overview of the types of issues that are specific to designing out crime at particular sites, such as when building close to a rail line, station or crossing and Sergeant Mark Beresford, from Kent Police’s Central Force Community Safety and Licensing team explained the policing issues and concerns for developers to consider when trying to successfully and safely design new-build housing, retail and commercial developments alongside areas which have an active night time economy.

Lyn said: "The importance of seminars such as this cannot be measured in the short term, as Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design and Designing Out Crime is a long term end goal. It has been proven through academic research that it reduces crime, and we need to continue to raise awareness. Kent Police’s seminars are a very effective way of doing this.

“If future developments consult with, and utilise the skills of, the UK Police’s specialist Designing Out Crime Officers at the earliest opportunity and incorporate security measures, such as architectural landscaping, lighting, perimeter security, clever highway design and physical security, into the developments, this will have a positive impact on the lives of the people living & working in them. This in turn reduces the demand on the Police, Local Authority and Social Services resources."

The event organisers, Kent Police’s Designing Out Crime Officers Linda Mason and Adrian Fromm 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.

Linda Mason

Linda said; “Each time we have a seminar, we build stronger links with those that are shaping the built environment. We aim to make sure Kent remains a safe place for people to live, work and visit.

“We base these seminars around Secured by Design and the work that our Designing Out Crime Officer does. We then invite guest speakers, trying to ensure. we invite those people who our audience will benefit from meeting and having opportunity to question.

“It is essential to work with our partners to help design out crime. We include crime stats and police intelligence alongside knowledge of current building and crime trends and the proposed site itself to inform the applicants/agents and ultimately the planning officers of areas of concern that they should rectify or amend when necessary. Some designs might work well in certain areas but not in others for a number of reasons.

“We are continually striving to ensure that the design of new developments always minimises the opportunity for crime across Kent. Our input usually starts with the layout, appropriate natural surveillance opportunities and ensuring safe and secure routes through the development at the earliest stage of the application, we also encourage Secured by Design applications.

“For this third seminar, in addition to planners, architects and developers, we had a greater number of attendees representing Housing Associations, which are currently at the forefront of designing new builds for social housing.

“We are grateful to the speakers, who are crucial to help improve the design in order to make the developments more secure and safe”.