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Home | About the Safer Parking Scheme

About the Safer Parking Scheme 

The Safer Parking Scheme is a national standard for UK car parks that have low crime and measures in place to ensure the safety of people and vehicles.  A Park Mark is awarded to each car park that achieves the challenging standards.  The distinctive Park Mark signage helps drivers find car parks where they can confidently leave their vehicle, knowing the environment is safer.

Go behind the scenes in our video


In the UK, a quarter of car parks have achieved the Park Mark Award.  That's 5,000 of an estimated 17,000 - 20,000 car parks across the country.  Most car parks are safe places, most of the time.  But not all!  Park Mark helps you tell the difference.

Each car park undergoes a rigorous assessment by specially trained police assessors and it is the car park that is awarded not the organisation.  This is because organisations, such as local authorities or large private companies can have many car parks, but not all of them will pass.  The car parks that do achieve the award have management practices and security measures assessed and these practices actively reduce crime.  Park Mark car parks look safer, they feel safer, they are safer!

Accredited car parks can be found at train stations, hospitals, universities, town centres, shopping centres, leisure centres, airports, supermarkets, banks and office blocks.  The smallest has 10 spaces, the largest has 13,000.  You can find them in cities, towns, villages and tourist attractions.  Have a look at our brief history of car parks page to see some fabulous buildings.

The car park finder has a tick box for specialist services such as Meet & Greet so you can feel confident about choosing an approved operator when going on holiday or visiting a place you don't know well.  Read our advice about choosing a Meet & Greet operator here.

A library of case studies is being created to show how the Safer Parking Scheme has been adopted across different market sectors.  Read more about Dundee City CouncilUniversity of Sheffield, APH airport parkingAlhambra Shopping Centre and City & County of Swansea.

Vehicle and vehicle related crime has been falling since its peak in the mid 1990s.  The targeted approach that the Safer Parking Scheme employs ensures that incidents remain low to zero.  You can view crime statistics on the Office For National Statistics website.  Not all crime is reported so police recorded crime figures and crime surveys are used in combination to provide a more realistic picture.

Vehicle related crime facts

  • Most car crime occurs on the street

  • Formal surveillance (including patrols), lighting, access control and good physical appearance of the car park lead to reductions in levels of vehicle related crime and the fear of crime

  • Car park management is a critical factor in running a safe, secure car park

  • New car parks built to Safer Parking Scheme standards have low crime levels and are highly rated by users

[10] Between the lines: an evaluation of the Secured Car Park Award Scheme 2003

Office for National Statistics

Vehicle related crime as a percentage of total crime:

2004/05        17%

2012/13        12%

2014/15        13%

2015/16        13.8%

2016/17        13.5%

207/18          15%

Vehicle related crime in non-work car parks:

2004/05        16%

2011/12        9%

2014/15        8%

2015/16        7%

2016/17        5%

2017/18        5%

Link to the Office for National Statistics Nature of Crime: vehicle-related theft - March 2018

Link to the Office for National Statistics article Overview of vehicle-related theft: England and Wales - July 2017