Changing design of pubs 'could cut crime'

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The Independent Online
REDESIGNING public houses, street corners, betting shops and housing estates could prevent drug dealing and reduce crime levels where traditional policing methods had failed, senior police officers were told yesterday.

Chief Supt Alan Edwards, of the Metropolitan Police, told the Police Superintendents' Association annual conference that although conventional detection techniques should not be abandoned, police should adopt a 'much wider vision'. This should include joint partnerships with local politicians and local authority builders and planners as well as organisations like breweries and betting shop chains.

Ch Supt Edwards, commander of police for Hammersmith and Fulham in west London, said: 'I could give examples of how public utility, leisure and recreation facilities have been redesigned in order to be more user friendly, and of how public house bars and betting shops have been open- planned to reduce the ability of drug dealers and other criminally- minded operators to ply their trade within unsupervised nooks and crannies.'

Speaking outside the conference, in Blackpool, Ch Supt Edwards said that public houses provided 'rent-free accommodation for drug dealers'. In his own area three had been successfully turned into open-plan establishments after approaches to the breweries.