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Designing out crime course

The training for senior police, which officers seeking promotion to Assistant Chief Constable (ACC) have to do, has featured for the first time a module based on ‘designing out crime’.

The National Police Strategic Command Course is the run by the College of Policing and included a presentation on designing out crime by Prof Rachel Armitage, pictured, Director of the University’s Secure Societies Institute at the University of Huddersfield. Her November 2015 inaugural, public lecture as a professor, on ‘when poor design becomes criminal’, featured in the January 2016 print issue of Professional Security.

Her specialist fields of research include crime prevention through environmental design (CPTED), situational crime prevention, CCTV and surveillance, and terrorism. She was one of the first speakers at the start of the three-month course.

The inclusion of the ‘designing out crime’ module had been arranged by the course deputy directors Helen Ball and Jo Noakes and the national police crime prevention initiative Secured by Design (SBD).

Briefly, SBD seeks to reduce crime by using proven crime prevention design techniques such as natural surveillance, landscaping and lighting, as well as encouraging manufacturers of products such as doors and windows to meet Police Preferred Specification, which has more stringent requirements than the physical security standards required by the Building Regulations.

Prof Armitage co-presented the one-and-a-half hour long ‘designing out crime’ session with SBD Development Officer Michael Brooke. She told delegates that her independent academic research had found that SBD’s design principles and product security standards had achieved significant and sustained reductions in crime on SBD sites compared to non-SBD sites.

“Research conducted at the University of Huddersfield shows that in West Yorkshire the average property experiences almost four times as many burglaries as a property designed to the features of designing out crime.

“Building in extra security at the design stage typically costs around £170 for a three-bed dwelling – a relatively low cost deterrent to criminality.”

SBD Chief Executive Officer, Guy Ferguson, said: “Prof Armitage and Michael Brooke were well received and generated some excellent questions and contributions from the audience. It will have focused the delegates about how they can positively apply their learning in practical situations when they become senior leaders of UK police forces.”


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