New housing design guidlines to reduce crime on estates

The government has tasked a forensic psychologist with designing out crime from housing developments.

Professor Ken Pease of University College London will lead a team who will make recommendations on housing design that could reduce crime.

He said he expected to create guidelines on house design. The recommendations could be similar to the Secure by Design standards with the difference that planning committees would have to adhere to them unless they could provide good justification for doing otherwise. Failure to do this could be a breach of the Crime and Disorder Act which says the committees must take into account the consequences of their decisions on crime.

He said architectural liaison officers, crime prevention officers from the police who work with planners and architects to reduce crime in developments, also needed greater status. Their training centre was shut three years ago and their numbers have dropped.

He added that data from the British Crime Survey on street crime should be analysed and mathematical analysis of pedestrian and traffic flows would also point the way to making housing more secure.

Pease said it was important that the guidelines were founded on empirical data rather than being purely design-led.

He added: “We need proper evalution of design-led security schemes. We need the integration of security and sustainability issues because they belong together and their separation in these carbon conscious days is extremely silly. And we need presumptive design guidelines which are authoritative and can be used by architectural liaison officers to persuade planners.”

A prototype of the work is likely to be complete within nine months and the project lasts three years. He plans to work with the Design Council and Cabe on the report.

The programme led by the Design Council and backed by the Home Office, also includes work to design schools, pubs and shops to reduce bullying, assaults and shoplifting.