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Home Office publishes much anticipated Crowded Places guidance
Written by Editor, CIR
New Home Office guidance published today sets out advice for key partners such as local authorities, police and businesses on how they can better protect the public. Working Together to Protect Crowded Places follows a public consultation last year and details how partners can work together.
Alongside this, two other documents have also been published. For the first time, they offer practical advice for planners and designers in incorporating counter terrorism measures to reduce vulnerability in crowded places.
Home Office security minister Lord West commented, "We will continue to make it harder for terrorists to attack this country. A lot of good work has already been done but we can always do more. This guidance is yet another tool we have in the fight against terrorism, allowing people to go about their daily lives freely and with confidence.
"The police and security services do a great job in protecting the public but it is not a job for them or government alone. These documents will encourage local partners to play their part and take the necessary steps to make crowded places as safe as possible."
The UK faces a real threat from terrorism and crowded places remain an attractive target. The documents will advise on implementing four key counter-terrorism design principles: better blast resistance, better building management facilities, better traffic management and prevention of vehicle-borne explosives, and better oversight.
Planning Minister Ian Austin added, "Good use of the planning system can keep people safe. The new guidance will ensure councils and developers take a common sense approach to make buildings safer and reduce the risk of attack, whilst not compromising on good design, so our towns and cities are attractive and vibrant places to live."
Director of London First, which is closely involved in the work carried out during the consultation, Gerard McAtamney commented, "London First was delighted to galvanise the support of London's business community during the consultation process. Private-public partnerships have a vital role to play in the safety and security of our communities with the business districts being the most densely populated areas of our cities and those most at risk from terrorist attack. Subsequently, the private sector plays an important role in leading the way in designing out terrorism and providing examples of best practice."
As well as the response to the public consultation of last year, a further two documents are published today. Crowded Places: The Planning System and Counter-Terrorism is jointly published by the Home Office and Communities and Local Government and is sharply focused on guidance that is directly relevant to the role of planning officers. Protecting Crowded Places: Design and Technical Issues is jointly published by the Home Office, the Centre for the Protection of the National Infrastructure (CPNI) and the police National Counter-Terrorism Security Office (NaCTSO). It contains design and technical counter-terrorism protective security guidance that will be of particular interest to architects and designers and their clients.
Considering counter-terrorism at the concept and design stages will enable counter-terrorism protective security measures to be incorporated into the overall design, which is easier and cheaper than retro-fitting. Commenting, Brian Quinn, advisor at the Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment, said, "This publication shows that you can create attractive public spaces that are also highly protected, safe and accessible. We believe the secret is to involve security advisers as part of the early stages of the design process alongside designers, developers and local authorities."
President of the Royal Institute of British Architects, Ruth Reed, said, "This new guidance is a valuable resource for architects and other design practitioners, who are working to create public access buildings and open spaces that reduce vulnerability to terrorist attacks sensitively, whilst upholding the principles of good design.
"In particular we welcome the guiding principle that designing for counter-terrorism cannot be done in isolation from their concerns of the built environment."
Over £9mn was provided by the Home Office in 2009/10 to support priority work at regional and local level, with an additional £1.5mn from April 2008 to help increase the number of police counter-terrorism security advisers.