Security by Design in Abu Dhabi

By Hunter R. Burkall, PSP

Benchmarking. The development of the SSPM involved a series of workshops to identify the factors specific to Abu Dhabi that would provide context for the safety and security principles. The workshops identified a need for a benchmarking study to examine international best practices and determine whether they were applicable to Abu Dhabi.

To establish international best practices, the study examined more than 50 documents from around the world on crime prevention and counterterrorism planning, as well as best practices in Australia, the Netherlands, Pakistan, South Africa, the United Kingdom, and the United States. Each country differed in approach, and those differences provided a valuable basis for comparison.

Focusing on crime-prevention planning first, the United Kingdom and the Netherlands displayed the most comprehensive approaches. Both countries have programs undertaken by a central government that are supported by law or decree. Both countries also have incentive programs to increase the adoption of best practices, such as the Secured by Design program in the United Kingdom and the Secured Housing program in the Netherlands. They also have well-defined processes, standards, and guidelines that are publicly available and can be referred to in the planning process. In addition, an official stakeholder body is established to oversee proper implementation of the program and to assist local developers and property owners.

Similar programs are instituted in the United States and Australia; however, these operate at the local government level and only for particular areas of the country.

Shifting from crime prevention to counterterrorism planning, good practice was observed in Australia, the United Kingdom, and the United States. Each country had implemented a national counterterrorism strategy, including the establishment of programs to protect critical national assets and crowded places against credible security threats. At the time of the study, however, only the United Kingdom and the United States had outlined processes, guidelines, and testing and evaluation criteria for counterterrorism.

Most noticeable during the international benchmark study was a lack of integration between crime prevention and counterterrorism planning to include different processes and independent review bodies. The two disciplines often offered separate guidance that was contradictory.



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