Secured by Design (SBD) is the official police security initiative that is owned by the UK Police Service with the specific aim to reduce crime and help people live more safely. We seek to improve the physical security of buildings using products, such as doors, windows, locks and walling systems that meet SBD security requirements. In addition, we include proven crime prevention techniques and measures into the layout and landscaping of new developments, such as maximising natural surveillance and limiting excessive through movement.
We do this by working closely with builders, developers, local authorities and registered housing associations to incorporate our police crime prevention standards from initial concept and design through to construction and completion. Police forces throughout the UK have specially trained Designing Out Crime Officers (DOCOs) who offer police designing out crime and Secured by Design advice free of charge.
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 without any basic security. Burglars found externally glazed windows and doors relatively easy to enter as all they had to do in many cases was lift out the double-glazing and climb through the frame. In the wider built environment, sky walkways and subways incorporated into many large estates were designed to keep apart pedestrians and the rapidly growing number of vehicles. However, this created a haven for criminal activities where escape routes were everywhere and anonymity was absolute. In response, the Police Service set up SBD to combat the significant rise in burglary.
Raising standards in product manufacture
SBD started working with industry bodies and manufacturers to tackle the variations in the quality of the product being sold against the product that was originally tested. With SBD driving the market, it resulted in test houses being created and certification bodies set up to meet the demand. This work over many years has raised the awareness of the importance and benefits of security throughout the standards and construction industry. Today, products like doors and windows have to be certified by a United Kingdom Accreditation Service (UKAS) certification body before being considered for SBD’s Police Preferred Specification.
More than one million homes built to SBD standards over the last 30 years
Crime reductions sustainable each year and every year: that’s significant because most SBD homes are social housing, mostly in deprived and higher crime areas
Worked with police forces to reduce the number of false alarm calls to police from 1,052,538 in 1996 to 124,164 in 2017
Crime reductions of up to 87% on new developments (2017) and 61% in major refurbishment projects (2009)
Since 1989, there has been an overall reduction in property crime of 60%
Iconic sites include the 2012 London Olympics site, the 2014 Commonwealth Games Village, Wembley Stadium, the National Stadium of Wales and the Scottish & Welsh Assembly Buildings
Embedding SBD into the planning process
In another strategic move, SBD worked with Government to embed crime prevention into the planning process. The role of Designing Out Crime Officers is referenced in National Planning Practice Guidance and the National Planning Policy Framework expresses the importance of addressing crime and its impact on communities.
This has led to Designing Out Crime Officers working closely with architects, developers and local authority planners at the design stage to design out crime by improving the physical security of buildings and incorporating crime prevention techniques in the layout and landscaping of the immediate surroundings.
All this security advice and guidance is available in a series of SBD Design Guides which provide an authoritative source of reference. They are updated periodically to reflect product innovation, new technology and changing patterns of criminal behaviour.