Police buildings continue to play an important role in effecting public confidence in the police. More care needs to be given to the design and management of all police buildings.
Image - in the background is the new Recreation building for Palmerston built in the town centre (not on the outskirts of town where land is cheap). It is designed to relate to the street and help create place.
Posted by: Andrew Hammonds
Thanks to: "Re-inventing the police station: police–public relations, reassurance and the future of the Police Estate" (pdf 224 kb).
"A police station needs to be a recognisable symbol... to convey a sense of being part of the community." CABE
In the UK it is estimated that one in three people visit a police station every year. Well designed, public minded police stations can enhance the image of the police among victims and public. It can also decrease feelings of vulnerability among the public at large.
The familiar town centre police station was designed to make the police force both visible and legible. It was an effective symbol of security and public order. The police have largely failed to build on this legacy. This lack of concern with the urban design and management of the police facilities is reflected in the public experience of many police stations which are often intimidating, or alienating places to visit.
The following quotes are from the study "Re-inventing the police station: police–public relations, reassurance and the future of the Police Estate".
'It’s just a cop shop. Their business is to bang people up. You don’t go there unless you have to.’
‘I think they’ve designed it on purpose to be as impersonal as possible. It’s not a friendly place.’
‘The community aspect is way down their list of priorities, I would imagine.’
‘A lot of police stations are intimidating.’
‘I felt like I was being punished as well.’
‘It’s just a place really. Who wants to have lunch outside a police station? It’s not the kind of place you want to go and sit down, is it? I definitely wouldn't. I walk past it as fast as I can.’
In the UK virtually no police stations provided space for public meetings or exhibitions and very few make the most of the admittedly limited aspects to them which might appeal to the public. The traditional police station is increasingly out of date – many have closed. A wide range of factors bear on the future of the facilities. Some of these – new security threats, growth of police specialisation, culture, security, maintenance – pose a challenges with design solutions. Others, like a greater focus on community support, improved image, attract staff offer new opportunities.
There needs to be something close to a revolution in the way the police and the Government approach police buildings. They have to become much more sensitive to the contribution their facilities can make to strengthening relations between the police and citizens, and reassuring the public. In talking to a couple of people at the end of my presentation we came up with a banking analogy. Security is important to a bank and so is the customer. Using good design, banks have been able to improve customer experience - without compromising on security.
This would be consistent with new government statements on urban design and The QLD Police Services own CPTED guidelines.
This blog is based on my presentation on urban design and police buildings to the Qld Police Service yesterday. Attending were people from the facilities, community policing and CPTED areas. You can view this presentation in Slideshare -
I have incorporated information in this blog from the UK study "Re-inventing the police station: police–public relations, reassurance and the future of the Police Estate" (pdf 224 kb). Unfortunately, and typically, I couldn't find any Australian information online.
This blog is part 4 in a series:
- Police - building on their vision? 8 actions to enable Police Buildings to contribute to the vision of the Police Service, rather than contradict it.
- How social trends will affect police station location. Like all public buildings, police stations belong in existng or new centres. They play a critical role in patronage of place. Trends also show increasing dependance on centres and walkability by customers. Now and in the future.
- Do police buildings make us feel safe and secure? Public Services, particularly policing, depend on a trusting cooperative public for their success. Public attitudes towards the police are complex. While the police remain one of the most trusted of public services, they cannot afford to be complacent.
- The under-appreciated role of the Police Station. Police buildings continue to play an important role in effecting public confidence in the police. More care needs to be given to the design and management of all police buildings.
Thursday 14 June, 2012
Placefocus links: Place Outcomes;
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