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Bid to cut crime with new design

10 August 07 08:52 GMT

Four experts have joined the government's new body to promote design as a means of cutting crime.

The Design and Technology Alliance will encourage designers to develop new theft-proof products, possibly including bikes and mobile phones.

The chief executive of the Design Council is among six professionals who are part of the alliance.

The Home Office said design features in cars had partly led to a halving of vehicle crime in the past decade.

The Design and Technology Alliance will be made up of a panel of independent experts, who will work with the design industry to develop products.

The Design Council's David Kester, Jeremy Myerson from the Royal College of Art, Gloria Laycock from University College London, and Lorraine Gamman, director of the Design Against Crime Research Centre at Central St Martins School of Art and Design have joined the alliance.

Sebastian Conran, of Conran & Partners, and chairman of the Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment John Sorrell are already members.

Home Office Minister Vernon Coaker said clever designs alone could not stop a criminal.

"Designing to prevent a crime isn't the only solution. Of course tough law enforcement goes alongside that and criminals will always try to get round the new techniques that are in place.

"But I think that what you can say is that improved design makes a phenomenal difference."

The Conservatives said they had raised the issue of design and crime last year.

Shadow home secretary David Davis said: "Designing out crime is a serious concept that deserves serious attention. However, it is not a panacea.

"Without real action - like slashing police red tape and putting our officers on the streets - it will not be anywhere near enough.

"It will be yet another government initiative that proves more effective at getting a headline than solving a problem."

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