Skip to content


This module has been prepared to provide practical guidance for both local authorities and developers on how crime risks and the fear of crime can be significantly reduced within new developments in Hertfordshire through addressing security at the design stage. It is expected therefore that this module, alongside the other modules of the Guide, will be used by all those involved in the planning process. In particular it should be read alongside the design for high quality environments module.

Designing high quality and safe development is an important aspect of the sustainability agenda, creating places where people want to live, work and enjoy in the knowledge that they can do so safely.

Places which are designed to be safe and secure in the first instance create financial savings to the occupier in terms of not needing to make costly alterations to improve safety and security.

Principles of crime prevention and community safety that should be considered as part of the design process are covered in this module. It is important to note that no universal solution can deal with every problem. Each location is unique and so what works well in one place may not work in another. Each principle is followed by a helpful checklist.

Case study schematics, diagrams and photographs are used throughout to illustrate how key principles can be translated into design practice.

did you know

For detailed planning applications, and outline applications where layout is a reserved matter, the design and access statement should explain and justify the proposed layout in terms of the relationship between buildings and public and private spaces within and around the site, and how these relationships will help to create safe, vibrant and successful places.

Making the change

The Police and Justice Act 2006 replaces the definition of section 17 of the Crime and Disorder Act 1998. It now reads, "Without prejudice to any other obligation imposed on it, it shall be the duty of each authority to which this section applies to exercise its various functions with due regard to the likely effect of the exercise of those functions on, and the need to do all it reasonably can prevent,

a) Crime and disorder in its area (including anti social behaviour and other behaviour adversely affecting the local environment) and

b) The misuse of drugs, alcohol and other suibstances in its area."

The Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) replaced the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister (ODPM) in 2006. The good practice guide 'Safer Planning: the Planning System and Crime Prevention' was replaced by the new Planning Practice Guidance which works with the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) published in 2012.

The National Planning Policy Framework replaces the Planning Policy Statements 1 to 13. It aims to "create a safe and accessible envirionment where crime and disorder, and the fear of crime, do not undermine quality of life or community cohesion."

The government aims to implement  crime into the design consideration and planning guidance. Local governments should enhance community safety  and prevention of crime by exercising its planning functions under the Town and County Planning Legislation. Local authorities are encouraged to consult their Police and Crime Commissioners and work together on planning matters together. This is important as planning measures are based on the understanding of the local authorities should avoid assumptions about problems and their causes. Consideration also needs to be given to planning policies on crime reduction and sustainable communities.

Design and Access Statements were introduced by the Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act 2004 and have been formally launched by the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) circular 01/2006, Guidance on Changes to the Development Control System. A statement must accompany most planning applications and should demonstrate how crime prevention measures have been considered in the design proposal and how the design reflects the attributes of safe, sustainable places set out in Planning Practice Guidance.

In conjunction with this module, Planning Practice Guidance should be the first point of reference for those involved in the design process and for local authorities judging proposed development schemes in the county. Together they provide guidance on good planning and its positive contribution to crime prevention and the creation of safer places and well designed sustainable communities.

The 'Secured by Design' (SBD) initiative offers in-depth advice and standards on environmental design and physical protection.  SBD is the UK police flagship initiative which has proved successful in reducing incidences of crime and anti-social behaviour.

Additional information about crime prevention measures can be found in the following documents.

The advice in By Design, Urban Design in the Planning System: towards better practice and Secured by Design identify seven attributes for safe and sustainable communities, covering:

  • Access and movement
  • Structure
  • Surveillance
  • Ownership
  • Physical protection
  • Activity
  • Management and maintenance

These attributes have been re grouped in this module to form a set of principles for crime prevention that should be considered as part of the design process. These principles cover:

  1. Public/Private space
  2. Orientation of residential development
  3. Permeability
  4. Block Structure
  5. Parking
  6. Management & Maintenance
  7. Property Security

Building Regulations Part Q, cover security.