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RIBA links with police to help cut crime through design

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The Metropolitan Police and the RIBA are drawing up plans to train and test architects' ability to prevent crime through design.

The police are planning to establish a series of courses in association with the RIBA's continual professional development department to ensure architects consider crime during the design process.

The initiative comes as the Home Office predicts that burglary figures will rise despite stable crime figures over all.

Talks began last week but courses are expected to start in London within 12 months before being rolled out across the country.

One proposal is that if enough architects in a practice complete the course, that practice will be licensed to use the 'secured by design' logo on letterheads. Some local authorities such as Hillingdon and Brent in London already demand that secured by design standards are applied to all public buildings, so the police say accreditation could boost practices' marketing efforts.

The scheme may also win a Government subsidy and home office officials said that prime minister Tony Blair, home secretary Jack Straw and deputy prime minister John Prescott have each been told that financial support for the initiative could cut spending on crime in the long run.

'Planners are coming on board quickly, but architects are being left out, ' said crime prevention officer, Richard Flynn who is spearheading the initiative. 'We want to raise the profile of crime as a factor in design.'

RIBA head of continual professional development Joni Tyler said the institute was ready to help run the training.

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