What Secured by Design does
Secured by Design (SBD), the national police crime prevention initiative, works with Police Forces around the UK, and many other organisations, to achieve sustainable reductions in crime to help people live in a safer society. Our partners include National and Local Government, British and European standards authorities, trade associations, the construction industry and manufacturers.
How we work
SBD trained police officers and staff in Police Forces work closely with architects, developers and local authority planners on new build developments and major refurbishments from the drawing board stage through to construction to ‘design out crime’.
These officers, known principally as ‘Designing Out Crime Officers’, promote the use of proven crime prevention techniques in the layout and landscaping of developments, such as to increase natural surveillance, create defensible space and limit through movement. In addition, they seek to improve the security of buildings, by recommending products like doors, windows and locks that are sufficiently robust to resist physical attack to deter opportunist burglars.
Our officers work across a range of building sectors including housing, commercial, retail, mixed use, transport, health, education, sport, leisure and many others.
Why our Police Preferred Specification is so important
The reason we work closely with manufacturers and companies is to encourage them to provide robust, quality products that can achieve our Police Preferred Specification award, which recognises that our minimum standards have been met to help keep buildings secure.
This standard requires certification from a UK Accreditation Service (UKAS) accredited independent third-party certification authority. This involves regular production audits and re-testing to ensure consistent quality over time and goes beyond the one-off testing required by Part Q of the Building Regulations, England, which became effective from October 2015.
We have nearly 600 member companies, many of them leaders in their specialist fields and many operating in European and global marketplaces. SBD is the only way for companies to obtain Police accreditation in the UK.
Why we were set up
SBD was created in 1989 following the housing boom of the 1960s-1980s when there was a huge and urgent demand for housing. Estates were built quickly and often cheaply with little consideration given to security. Sky walkways and subways were incorporated into many large estates to keep pedestrians and the rapidly growing number of vehicles apart. However, this created an environment where escape routes were everywhere, anonymity was absolute. The result was that crime increased significantly, particularly burglary. The Police Service response was to set up SBD to incorporate crime prevention at the planning stage of new developments.
What we have achieved for residents
Over the last 28 years, tens of thousands of residents have moved into SBD new homes and continue to benefit from our high standards of security. Independent research shows that SBD developments that include our crime prevention techniques in the built environment and our accredited products in buildings can reduce crimes like burglary by up to 75% in new-build homes and up to 63% in refurbishments.
Evidence suggests these figures are sustainable year-on-year and represent a significant reduction especially as most SBD developments are in social housing, many of which are in deprived areas.
How SBD helps police and local authorities
Incorporating crime prevention design features in the built environment and physical security of buildings reduces demand on police and council resources because there is less crime and anti-social behaviour.
In addition, using police accredited products means they are of consistent high quality and last longer, and therefore require less maintenance, repair and replacement over time as well as providing a long-term legacy of safer, more cohesive and desirable communities, where people choose to put down roots.
All this frees up capacity, resources and budgets to be allocated to more pressing issues and concerns.
SBD is self-funded and does not receive public funding – so clearly at a time of shrinking budgets – it makes sense for Police Forces and local authorities to work together to keep their communities safe.
How we are helping developers
Our latest scheme, SBD National Building Approval (SBD NBA), makes it significantly simpler, quicker and cheaper for development companies and organisations commissioning building work, like housing associations, to meet the security requirements contained in the Building Regulations.
After developers agree the basic level of physical security to be provided before building work commences, SBD carries out due diligence on the developer’s supply chain to ensure their products are tested and certified to SBD standards. This needs to be done only once because the agreement forms the security criteria to be met by that developer for all SBD schemes whenever and wherever they register a new site with SBD – without having to seek a separate agreement with that area’s Police Force.
SBD’s work with the Department for Communities and Local Government, National House Building Council, Local Authority Building Control and the Building Control Alliance means that the SBD NBA can be used by developers as evidence to discharge their third-party obligations under Part Q of the Building Regulations.
Our most iconic sites
Among our most famous buildings which incorporate SBD’s crime prevention principles are the 2012 London Olympics site, Wembley Stadium and the Scottish and Welsh Assembly Buildings.
Adapting to changing criminal behaviour
We have built up a wealth of experience over nearly 30 years of promoting increased levels of crime prevention and security through active involvement in local communities – constantly adapting our advice to keep pace with changing patterns of criminal behaviour. This knowledge and practical guidance, which is provided at the planning stage, before building begins, has been captured in a series of building guides, such as SBD Homes and SBD Commercial, which are available on our website.
How we are administered
We are part of Police Crime Prevention Initiatives, which owns and operates the trading entity Secured by Design (SBD) on behalf of the Police Services of the United Kingdom. Police Crime Prevention Initiatives Board members include two Chief Constables, including the National Police Chiefs’ Council’s Crime Prevention Lead, two Assistant Chief Constables, an Assistant Commissioner with the Metropolitan Police, and a former Assistant Chief Constable for Sussex.
Further information about SBD