Personal security

Section 17 of the Crime and Disorder Act (1998), states that: "Without prejudice to any other obligation imposed upon it, it shall be the duty of each exercise its various functions with due regard to the likely effect of the exercise of those functions on, and the need to do all that it reasonably can to prevent crime and disorder in this area." The Police and Justice Act 2006 added specific references to antisocial behaviour, drug and substance misuse to the definition.

It is also important to remember that transport and crowded places are currently identified as being under high levels of threat from extremism. It is therefore vitally important that appropriate professional advice is incorporated into schemes.

In considering opportunities for crime and disorder in interchange schemes, it is crucial to involve crime prevention specialists as early as possible in the scheme's design. This will ensure factors such as lighting, clear lines of sight and CCTV are included in the context of existing crime factors in the vicinity.

By involving crime prevention professionals, interchange designers will be able to design in a predictive element to schemes which, by application of specialist crime and disorder knowledge, will future-proof projects and prolong scheme benefits for end users. By ensuring early involvement it is likely that many recommendations can be incorporated on a 'cost neutral' basis.

Has specialist Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design advice been sought?

As well as specialist Crime Prevention Design Advisors and Architectural Liaison Officers in local police areas, we have our own team of qualified Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED) specialists available to offer professional advice. They are available by contacting the Crime and Disorder Partnership Unit at the Community Safety, Enforcement and Policing Directorate.

Crime and Disorder Partnership Manager,
Community Safety, Enforcement and Policing Directorate,
6th Floor Albany House,
96-98 Petty France,
London SW1H 9EA

Some examples of the types of issues that CPTED may advise on are set out in the questions below. It should be noted that this list is not exhaustive and should not be considered as such.

Are there any isolated locations?

Crime and fear of crime is greatest in those areas where an individual is isolated from others, such as bridges and subways. Personal security can be greatly enhanced by removing locations which are poorly lit or not directly visible from parts of the interchange zone in which staff are present or other passengers are more numerous.

Lighting across the interchange zone must be considered, not simply areas within and immediately outside interchange facilities.

Planners and designers should take account of the following security measures:

  • Provide even and sufficiently bright lighting to eliminate dark areas
  • Install and effectively operate CCTV which is visible to passengers
  • Design out or remove blind corners, recesses and other places people could hide (although if transparent materials are used, they should be demarcated so as to be visible to those with visual impairments)
  • Use mirrors to lengthen sightlines
  • Locate lift lobbies, other waiting areas and locations where information is provided in areas which have good natural surveillance or within view of staff detail locations

Does the interchange zone provide good levels of natural surveillance?

Isolation can be reduced significantly through use of natural surveillance. Traditionally, this has meant locating staff duty locations, ticket offices and control stations in areas where the greatest proportion of the interchange zone, or those areas most prone to crime, are directly visible. Duty locations can be varied across the day to reflect concerns over security and staff patrol routes and schedules devised so as to offer the greatest coverage.

At new or redeveloped interchanges, the opportunity exists to augment this traditional approach with designs which provide additional natural surveillance by passengers themselves and others working in the interchange zone. Facilities where passengers may wait or gather should be located in combined opportunity areas where there is most likelihood of passenger activity.

Mixing uses, such as movement and decision spaces bounded by active spaces or frontages, will add vitality at different times of the day or night and foster a sense of well-being.

Consideration should be given to any retail or other areas that may not be open late in the evening or early morning and alternative surveillance arrangements assessed. It may be possible to change the use of frontages in a particular area to maintain better natural surveillance when shops are closed.

Is CCTV used effectively?

CCTV monitoring provides numerous benefits including the recording of criminal activity and crowd management in stations. Used overtly, it can also act as a deterrent to crime and reduce fear of crime in stations, on-street and in vehicles.

However, CCTV should be seen as part of a package of security measures, along with those described elsewhere in these guidelines.

Are fixtures and fittings vandal-proof?

Fixtures and fittings should use materials which deter vandalism and, where vandalism does occur, minimise maintenance or repair. This includes using graffiti resistant materials or finishes which are easy to remove graffiti from.

Lifts in particular suffer from vandalism, and should be placed in positions of maximum natural surveillance. It is necessary to strike a balance between the visual and physical qualities of materials used.

Evidence suggests that well-maintained, high quality environments are less subject to crime and reduce fear of crime amongst passengers. For example, prompt removal of graffiti from an area avoids reduces the likelihood of further graffiti being added in the same location.

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