Mark Stokes - Learning & Development Coordinator

Mark served for 33 years as a police officer with West Midlands Police. He entered the discipline of crime prevention in 1992, as Force Architectural Liaison Sergeant. Thereafter Mark was appointed Force Architectural Liaison Officer, Industrial Security Officer, Counter-Terrorism Crime Prevention Officer, was seconded in a DOCO role to the Regional Development Agency and then became Force Crime Reduction Manager.  

Following retirement from West Midlands Police in 2011, Mark has been a Consultant with Secured by Design, Visiting Lecturer in Partnership Working at Wolverhampton University, War Crimes Investigator and both a DOCO and supervisor with British Transport Police. Since 2019 he has worked for the Police Crime Prevention Academy as a Learning and Development Co-ordinator.

Mark has a BSc (Honours) degree in Social Sciences from the Open University and an MA in Public Order from the University of Leicester. He is currently in the final stages of completing a PhD research project at Huddersfield University, investigating the sustainability of SBD and CPTED measures over the very long term (25 years) at seven inner city residential tower blocks.

 

Mark left school in 1976 at the age of 16, working first as a Laboratory Technician. A year later he began his career with West Midlands Police as a Police Cadet. And in 1978 Mark was sworn in as Police Constable 6131, patrolling the streets of Solihull. Almost all of the following 14 years were devoted to front line uniform duties, much of that time as a Police Sergeant in Coventry. 

Mark’s damascene conversion to the cause of crime prevention (rather than criminal justice solutions) came in 1992. As a Custody Sergeant the realisation dawned that he was booking in burglars whose fathers he had arrested or processed for the same offence less than a decade before!  Within months he applied and was selected to be the Force Architectural Liaison Officer (ALO), a role in which he continued for the next five years. 

During that time Mark nurtured relationships with architects, developers, planners and housing officers to process in excess of 3,000 homes to Secured by Design award status. He worked with local authorities to develop security advice and Supplementary Planning Guidance; was the first ALO to work on the 17 year long construction of the Brindleyplace commercial, retail and leisure complex; and delivered presentations to the ALO/CPDA training courses then held at Stafford.

Thereafter, Mark returned to front line duties before being promoted to Inspector and managing a shift in the Force 999 Control Room.  He was subsequently assigned the roles of Force Architectural Liaison Officer, Industrial Security Officer, Counter-Terrorism Crime Prevention Officer, and Force Crime Reduction Manager. Simultaneous to these roles, Mark was appointed Temporary Chief Inspector with the Regional Development Agency and was chosen to manage the Arson Task Force and Coroner’s Officers. He also sought and gained permission from Professor Ron Clarke to adapt the latter’s ‘Twenty-Five Techniques of Situational Prevention’ to produce eight Crime Prevention matrices in respect of Car Key Burglary, C/ViT Robbery, Cannabis Farms, Metal Theft, Night-Time Economy, Serious Acquisitive Crime, Violent Crime and Garage Forecourt Bilking.

When he retired from the West Midlands Police in 2011 after 33 years’ service, Mark was the longest serving practitioner and manager in Crime Prevention and Designing Out Crime in the UK – and by extension, almost certainly the world.  Moreover, he left having received an unprecedented trio of Secured by Design Innovation Awards – evidence in itself of his advocacy and championing of SBD. And in July 2011 during a House of Commons debate dedicated to policing, Mark was described by Jack Dromey, MP for Birmingham Erdington as “a specialist in crime reduction and expert in Designing Out Crime with a deserved international reputation.” 

Over the past decade Mark has worked as a Consultant for Secured by Design; a Visiting Lecturer in Designing Out Crime, Partnership Working and Problem Solving at Wolverhampton University; a war crimes investigator; and authored the Police Buildings Security Manual for the Abu Dhabi Police Service. Between 2016 and 2019 he served as a Crime Reduction Supervisor and DOCO with British Transport Police. 

In this last role he managed a team of six DOCOs serving the rail networks of Scotland, Wales and much of England. BTP DOCOs are unique amongst their UK counterparts, in that their primary responsibility has in recent years concentrated on suicide prevention on the railways – a key issue linked to responsibility for safeguarding and vulnerability. As a result, Mark wrote BTP’s submission for the 2018 Herman Goldstein Award for Problem Oriented Policing, and when selected as one of the five international finalists, presented at the annual conference held in Providence, Rhode Island, USA. 

Courtesy of part time study, Mark has a BSc (Hons) 2:1 degree in Social Sciences from The Open University; an MA in Public Order from the University of Leicester; and is at present completing his doctorate at Huddersfield University. The latter involves an investigation into the long-term (25 years) sustainability of CPTED (Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design) measures at seven inner city tower blocks in Birmingham.

He has also delivered presentations geared to Designing Out Crime related matters across the UK and as far afield as Canada, Australia and the United Arab Emirates.

In his spare time Mark is a keen gardener, mountaineer and was a pioneer of long-distance bike rides for charity e.g. San Francisco to New York, Lima to Machu Picchu and most recently, Solihull to Istanbul. A founder member of both the West Midlands Police and Police Sport UK Ski and Snowboard sections, he is national treasurer and continues to ski competitively for his original police force.

Most recently, in 2019 Mark joined the team of trainers at the Police Crime Prevention Academy.