The reputation of car parks is slowly evolving, but there is definitely more work to be done in ensuring that they are safe places for the people that use them. Unfortunately, they are still a common place for thugs to commit a crime, be it robbery, assault or even murder. The responsibility of owners and operators therefore, is to make sure that your car park will not be a preferred location for such activity.
Reported this week by MKWeb in the UK, The Crown Estate recently received the Park Mark Safer Parking Award for its newly built shopping centre car park in Milton Keynes. Unlike the upcoming Oscars, this is not an exclusive award, but rather a certification (similar to the Heart Smart tick of approval on our food) that allows UK residents to choose safer parking options.
The Park Mark award is a joint initiative between the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) and the British Parking Association who want to bring safety to the forefront of car park owners and developers. Objectives of the program are:
- To reduce crime and fear of crime within parking facilities, to provide guidance to owners, operators and developers to establish a safe and secure environment within the car park.
- To raise safety issues for the general public.
- To provide a design framework for architects and developers of new parking facilities.
Interested owners/operators of car parks can apply for assessment by the police and successful facilities are then featured on the Park Mark searchable database. Owners must pay a membership fee and must continue to demonstrate to customers “a commitment to creating a high-quality parking facility that feels safe and has measures in place to reduce levels of crime”.
What do the Police check in a typical Park Mark® car park? Details are available here in the Assessment Guidelines, but can be summarised as follows:
“That the facility is properly managed, maintained and has appropriate levels of surveillance, lighting, signage and cleanliness, all of which contribute to reducing the opportunity for crime.”