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In July this year, Steve Quartermain CBE, the Chief Planning Officer, wrote to all local planning authorities reminding them of the important role the planning system plays in ensuring appropriate measures are in place in relation to counter terrorism and crime prevention.

Crime prevention has been a material consideration in the planning system for many years in recognition that designing out crime and designing in safety supports the creation of vibrant, environmentally and economically sustainable communities. Planning policy recognises the need for local plans to address local challenges and the importance of good design in reducing crime and the fear of crime. To date, this has largely been achieved through collaboration between planners and police advisors who understand local issues. Evidence has shown that relatively simple planning interventions, principally focused at deterring volume crime, have helped to reduce crime and fear of crime.

On 2nd November 2017, BRE will be hosting a free-to-attend event that will consider the future role of the planning system in creating safe and secure urban environments. Hear the views of the public and private sector, including key representatives from the Department for Communities and Local Government, the National Counter Terrorism Security Office and the Planning Officers Society. Participate in active discussion and share your ideas so that together we can shape a secure and sustainable future for our towns and cities. Places are limited so please register your interest in attending by clicking here.

Today, the security challenges facing our urban environments and the solutions to mitigate them have become increasingly complex. Crowded places, our infrastructure and public space can be vulnerable to terrorism, serious and organised crime. In recent years we have witnessed a remarkable increase in the tempo of security incidents here in the UK. The public quite rightly expect to be protected and there are solutions available to protect them. However, those committing these crimes are determined, can rapidly change tactics and often choose soft targets which are inherently difficult to secure effectively without creating a fortress environment.

Appropriate and proportionate solutions are derived from a combination of security minded spatial planning, good design, engineering and the management of space. The most operationally effective and cost effective solutions will be found early in development planning and their adoption can dramatically reduce both the likelihood and impact of incidents. However, it is important to realise that what works in one place may not work in another and this means that specialist input is required to find solutions that fit the local context and achieve all planning objectives.

To protect our existing and developing built environment will require new focus and increased collaboration between the public and private sector. We have a lot of space to protect, so we must be systematic and more determined to succeed than our adversaries. Given that the solutions we adopt today may be with us for decades to come, planners and developers need to have access to trusted tools that lead to sustainable outcomes and that are simple to implement if the private sector are to play a bigger role in protecting the public interest.

This event will bring together planners, developers and the security industry to build a shared understanding of the security challenge, a shared vision of what can and should be achieved, and how this can be supported through the planning system.

Gavin Jones
About the Author
Gavin Jones is the Director of SABRE (Security Assurance by BRE), the security assessment and certification standard for New Construction and buildings In-Use.

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