A recent article in the Financial Times highlights the extent to which security is being integrated into planning permission procedures in the UK. It also speaks to tensions that this integration causes within the security and planning fields.
In a piece called “Locked in the security cycle”, British author Anna Minton discusses the role and impact of a government-backed policy called Secured by Design, the official UK Police flagship initiative supporting the principles of “designing out crime”.
Secured by Design focuses on crime prevention of homes and commercial premises and promotes the use of security standards for a wide range of applications and products. Established in 1989, it’s administered under the auspices of the Association of Chief Police Officers and is funded by the 480 security companies that sell products meeting Secured by Design standard.
Secured by Design operates a licensing scheme and includes member companies who are entitled to use the “Secured by Design” logo and promote the term ‘Police Preferred Specification’ on products which have passed the tests specified by ACPO Secured by Design.
They also provide a wide range of security-oriented planning advice and tips for architects and developers, while maintaining a list of security suppliers who adhere to the Secured by Design codes.
As Minton writes, Secured by Design is supported by the insurance industry, offering lower premiums for the increasing security offered by Secured by Design standards. In turn, developers selling properties that adhere to these principles tout the higher security and lower insurance costs in their marketing materials.
So it’s a win-win in that case. Buyers get more security for lower insurance costs and sellers can attract higher prices for their properties based on that security-insurance relationship.
However, as Minton points out, the Secured by Design standards do not always translate well to certain development projects.
For example, Anna Strongman – project manager of a new 67-acre, mixed-use development at Kings Cross in London – feels constrained in creating a low-security environment within the project because of Secured by Design standards.
“We spend all our time fighting with them because they want us to put up huge grilles everywhere. There’s a lot of pressure to put in measures,” Strongman told Minton.
For their part, Secured by Design says that independent research shows that the principles of their standards “have proven to achieve a reduction of crime risk by up to 75% by combining minimum standards of physical security and well-tested principles of natural surveillance and defensible space.”
The integration of security standards in development projects is likely to gain increased traction within Canadian public policy.
We’ll keep our eyes on it.