CABE Space calls for 'soft' security

Parks watchdog says design is more important than CCTV

CABE Space’s latest policy paper says “soft” alternatives to the use of security cameras will encourage people into parks. The parks watchdog launched its policy paper Preventing Antisocial Behaviour in Public Places at the Green Flag awards ceremony in Preston. It reports fears that anti-social behaviour is leading to a “fortified urban environment”. The report states vandalism and graffiti are best tackled by spending money on design, maintenance and staffing rather than tough security measures such as cameras and fencing. Community groups estimate 31 per cent of parks have high levels of vandalism. Around £64 million is spent annually on vandalised features in parks — 11 per cent of the maintenance budget for parks. A MORI poll has found that 46 per cent of people believe that well-designed parks and open spaces deter graffiti, vandalism and anti-social behaviour. One third disagree. Seven out of 10 say it’s worth investing money in parks maintenance. Nine out of 10 say parks and open spaces improve people’s quality of life. CABE Space director Julia Thrift said: “There is a temptation to believe that CCTV and tough security is the only way to tackle these problems. However, many park managers would say it is possible to tackle problems like vandalism and graffiti and achieve long-term cost savings by investing in maintenance, staffing and good design.”

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