The British Parking Association (BPA) introduced the Safer Parking Scheme in 2004 across the UK with an aim to reduce crime in car parks. According to data, this scheme is a success – it has been instrumental in reducing the crime rate in parking lots from 17% to 12% from 2004-13. Naturally, this has encouraged motorists to choose designated parking spaces instead of parking off-street.
What is the aim of the scheme?
The aim of the Safer Parking Scheme is to reduce crime in parking lots. More specifically, the BPA aims to:
- Help lot owners create safe parking spaces by refining management practices and security systems.
- Raise awareness about safe parking, educate car owners, and reduce parking fears among motorists.
- Give architects and developers a framework to design secure parking spaces.
How does the scheme work?
The scheme is geared towards both facility owners and vehicle owners. Let’s see how it works for each group.
Parking owners can subscribe to the scheme by contacting the Development Managers (DM) appointed by the BPA or the designated police staff. The DM or the police officer will then visit the parking lot to perform an on-site inspection. The assessment is based on the following parameters –
- Signage availability
- Surveillance technology
- Parking areas
- Management practices
- Vehicular access
- Pedestrian access
- Perimeters and boundary specifications
- Crime recording metrics
If a parking lot scores well on these parameters, it gets a ‘Park Mark Safer Parking Award’. The award confirms that the operator has secured the parking lot according to BPA’s guidelines. Award holders also get access to BPA parking surveys through the scheme. This can help them improve the parking experience for customers, retain them, and attract new business.
The Safer Parking Scheme aims to encourage more motorists to park at car parks without fearing theft and other crimes. It educates vehicle owners on safety measures, rules, and the Park Mark Safer Parking Award. Thus, motorists can identify secure spaces following the Safer Parking Scheme specifications.
Who can join?
Parking lot operators or parking lot owners from various segments can join the scheme –
- Shopping complexes
- Parking operator firms
- Leisure parks
- Companies providing staff parking
- Government car parks, etc.
Has the scheme been effective?
Numbers from the BPA reveal that the Safer Parking Scheme has been effective in reducing parking lot crimes. From 2004 to 2018, parking lot crimes reduced from 16% to 5%.
Additionally, more people are using lots meeting the Safer parking Scheme mandates. In fact, lot owners like the Meet & Greet operators and hotels report higher customer satisfaction levels after receiving the Park Mark Safer Parking Award.
A step ahead
In 2020, the BPA announced the new Park Mark Plus Award as a step up from the original Park Mark Safer Parking Award. This will be awarded to car parks that meet the Safer Parking Scheme regulations and also make provisions to improve accessibility for disabled customers as per the Disabled Parking Accreditation norms.
To conclude, the BPA has been successful in meeting its primary objective through the Safe Parking Scheme – reducing parking lot crimes and improving the parking experience for motorists.