Birmingham City Council becomes first local authority to join Secured by Design scheme to reduce crime on housing developments
Birmingham City Council has become the first local authority to join a scheme run by Secured by Design (SBD), the national police crime prevention initiative, to build-in crime prevention techniques into all its new social housing developments to help keep residents safe.
The City Council, which is one of the largest local authorities in Europe, has become a member of SBD’s UK-wide National Building Approval (NBA) scheme.
The scheme makes it simpler, quicker and cheaper for organisations – like Birmingham City Council – and private building companies to achieve the security requirements contained in the building regulations.
SBD works with organisations and companies on their standard building types, such as houses and apartments. SBD checks those property types and the companies in their supply chain to ensure that products, such as windows and doors, will meet SBD standards.
Once SBD is satisfied its standards have been met, a certificate is issued which is evidence of compliance for security with the building regulations, thereby saving the organisation or company a significant administrative burden.
This landmark agreement builds on a ten-year partnership between SBD’s Designing Out Crime Officers at West Midlands Police and the Council’s housing development and planning teams, to design out crime from initial concepts through to planning application of new developments.
The partnership between SBD and Birmingham City Council was first launched when the Council set up Birmingham Municipal Housing Trust, its award-winning house building programme and techniques, which prevent crime, were incorporated into its housing developments.
Since 2009, more than 2,000 homes and a number of schools have been built to SBD’s crime prevention standards. Using landscaping and design layout practices, such as natural surveillance and limiting through-movement, the scheme helps to create an environment where burglars are more likely to be seen and challenged. In addition, SBD works to improve the physical security of buildings by using accredited products, such as doors and windows, which are sufficiently robust to deter casual or opportunistic burglars.
Research has found that homes built to SBD standards can reduce crimes like burglary by up to 87% compared to equivalent non-SBD developments.
Evidence suggests this figure is sustainable each and every year and represents a significant reduction especially, as most SBD developments are social housing, mostly in deprived and higher crime areas. Also, less crime and anti-social behaviour reduces demand on the Police Service.
Cllr Ian Ward, Leader of Birmingham City Council, said: “Birmingham City Council is proud to work with Secured by Design on this initiative that will give residents peace of mind in their homes.
“I am delighted that we are leading the way for local authorities by joining the National Building Approval scheme. Through innovative design and planning, we can begin to future proof the safety of those who live and work across the city and, where possible, eliminate anti-social behaviour in local neighbourhoods.”
West Midlands Police, Designing Out Crime Officer, Gareth Pemberton, said: “We have enjoyed a long and fruitful relationship with the Council over many years and this agreement will speed up and tie everyone into the process of reducing crime. It will ensure a high standard of security will be enjoyed by residents and local communities in the years ahead.”
National lead for the SBD National Building Approval scheme, Michael Brooke, said: “Having Birmingham City Council join our NBA scheme is a significant achievement for us and we would like to encourage other local authorities to come on board too.
“Birmingham City Council has taken our working relationship with them to another level. Not only will residents and local communities continue to benefit from reduced crime and anti-social behaviour but also Birmingham City Council will benefit from cost savings from not having to undertake due diligence work. The Council will also benefit from reduced repair, maintenance and replacement costs because our accredited products are more robust and will last longer. This is all good for local authorities in tough financial times.”
Many existing member companies, which include major housebuilders like Barratt Homes, Berkeley Homes, Bovis Homes, Crest Nicholson, Gleeson, Redrow, Taylor Wimpey and many others, report that SBD has removed a significant burden from them because due diligence can be difficult and time consuming.
Notable buildings which incorporate SBD’s crime prevention principles are the 2012 London Olympics site, the 2014 Commonwealth Games Village, Wembley Stadium, the National Stadium of Wales and the Scottish and Welsh Assembly Buildings.