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New guidance to protect crowded places

New guidance to protect crowded places

News Release issued by the COI News Distribution Service on 18 March 2010

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 said:

"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."

Planning Minister Ian Austin said:

"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."

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.

Director of London First, Gerard McAtamney, said:

"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.

"London First applauds the excellent work undertaken by the Home Office and reaffirms its support for protecting crowded places and reducing the vulnerability of crowded places."

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, and the overall aim of the government in its strategy to create 'World Class Places'. It is important that our built environment reflects that we are an open and inclusive society, and that in interpreting these new guidelines, our buildings do not convey that we are driven by security measures."

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."

Over £9 million was provided by the Home Office in 2009/10 to support priority work at regional and local level, with an additional £1.5 million from April 2008 to help increase the number of police counter-terrorism security advisers.

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.

NOTES TO EDITORS

1. 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 focussed 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.

2. A working group of key stakeholders representing relevant industry and professional bodies, in particular the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA), the Centre for the Protection of National Infrastructure (CPNI), the National Counter-Terrorism Security Office (NaCTSO) and the Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment (CABE), initially met to discuss and shape the content and scope of the original guidance put out for public consultation and made subsequent contributions to the finalised document.

3. The documents: ‘Working Together to Protect Crowded Places’ and ‘Safer Places: A Counter-Terrorism Supplement’ were published for consultation on 20 April 2009. The consultation ran for 12 weeks and concluded on 10 July 2009.

4. We received 103 responses, from a range of crowded places stakeholders, including the police, local authorities, fire and rescue service, business representatives and private businesses. The names of the organisations that commented can be found at Annex B of the government’s response document.

5. Since May 2006 counter terrorism security advisors (CTSAs) have provided comprehensive protective security guidance and given advice to over 500 sports stadia, over 600 shopping centres and over 10,000 city and town centre bars and nightclubs. Since January 2007, CTSAs have also run over 1,200 "Project Argus" scenario-based training events to city and town centre businesses to help them identify measures they can take to protect themselves and recover from a terrorist attack.

Contacts:

Home Office Press Office
Phone: 020 7035 3535
NDS.HO@coi.gsi.gov.uk