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SBD Commercial 2023 guide launched

Secured by Design (SBD) have launched the SBD Commercial 2023 Design Guide, the latest in its series of new/updated design guides, with for the first time the Commercial Guide being divided into Gold, Silver and Bronze award gradations.

SBD Commercial provides design guidance and specification requirements for commercial premises so as to reduce the risks of crimes against the person or property such as burglary, theft, arson, vehicle crime and assault. The scope of the document ranges from new schemes to refurbishments of existing buildings and encapsulates both commercial developments where the public have no formal access as in a factory or an office building and those where public access is integral to the commercial use such as in retail premises, leisure centres, warehouses and public service buildings. Such developments may range in size from a single unit with a defined use to a group of buildings with multiple uses. 

SBD Commercial 2023 is the most comprehensive publication of its type to date, being written with contributions from a wide range of individuals from differing backgrounds, including the Police Designing Out Crime Officers, the Fire and Rescue Service, trade and industry experts, access control professionals, local authority and building control professionals, together with professors of academia. 

Michael Brooke, Deputy Chief Operating Officer at Police Crime Prevention Initiatives said: “SBD Commercial provides a practical level of risk and sustainable security measures which are compatible and sympathetic to successful business. The majority of crimes committed on commercial premises are property related because modern business uses an array of desirable and easily transportable goods with a ready market such as plant, raw materials, laptops and many other valuable assets. 

“Among other crime types to be considered when designing commercial properties are vandalism, graffiti, robbery, assaults on staff members and cyber crime, including the Internet of Things which is covered in the Cyber Crime and the Internet of Things section of the guide. 

“It is our intention to continually update this guide as a result of further consultations with partners, signalling new iterations of standards and improved styles of applying designing out crime methods in order that communities will be protected from crime for years to come. 

“It is vital that the benefits of a new Secured by Design commercial development are complemented with a clear management and maintenance programme together with a business continuity and resilience plan which will further promote a safe working environment. More information about risk management in both new and existing commercial buildings can be obtained from the SBD partner initiative ‘Secured Environments at:”. 

This iteration of Secured by Design Commercial is applicable to all SBD applications made after 1st August 2023. 

You can view / download SBD Commercial 2023 for free here.

SBD Development Awards

Developers around the UK can achieve SBD awards for incorporating crime prevention measures and techniques into their developments in all kinds of building sectors, such as residential, education, health, transport, commercial, retail, sport and leisure.

These awards are gained by working with SBD’s specially trained police Designing Out Crime Officers (DOCOs), who advise architects, developers and local authority planners long before construction begins – and continue to provide advice and guidance until the development is complete. This service is provided free of charge. 

SBD Design Guides

SBD Commercial 2023 is part of a series of authoritative Design Guides produced by SBD to assist the building, design and construction industry incorporate security into developments to comply with the Building Regulations in England, Scotland and Wales and meet the requirements of SBD.

These Design Guides have been updated over the years to keep pace with changing patterns of criminal behaviour and advances in building design and new technology.

They are a valuable source of reference to architects, developers, self-builders, local authority planners and police officers and cover a range of building sectors, including residential, education, health, transport and commercial.  All SBD Design Guides are available for download for free here

Should you wish to contribute to any of the SBD Design Guides please contact Secured by Design by email at

Architects & Town Planners

Architects and Town Planners can request a professional development session on crime prevention and designing out crime from SBD here.

This RIBA Accredited online course provides architects and planners with an introduction to the Secured by Design (SBD) initiative. The completion of this course attracts 3 CPD points for architects from RIBA and achieving this CPD course will provide a better understanding about the benefits of SBD and contribute to an effective working relationship with the local police Designing Out Crime Officer (DOCO).


Secured by Design 

Secured by Design is owned by the UK Police Service with the specific aim of reducing crime and helping people live more safely.

Part of the Police Crime Prevention Initiatives portfolio, SBD was created in 1989 following the housing boom of the 1960s-1980s when there was a huge and urgent demand for housing, with estates being built quickly and often cheaply without any basic security. This resulted in a significant rise in burglary and, in response, the Police Service set up SBD to combat this. 

Since SBD was launched, various organisations have highlighted crime reductions attributed to SBD crime prevention measures and techniques. These organisations include the Secure Societies Institute at the University of Huddersfield (2009); The Caledonian Environment Centre: commissioned by Glasgow Housing Association and Strathclyde Police and supported by the Scottish Government (2009); and Police Scotland and Kingdom Housing Association (Sept 2017).

In addition, the Home Office ‘Modern Crime Prevention Strategy’ references SBD in relation to the importance of removing or designing out opportunities to offend. It states: “We are working with the Police to maintain the ‘Secured by Design’ brand, which is an important source of advice on how design of, for example, housing estates or shopping precincts, can prevent crime and anti-social behaviour.” 

Academic and other research shows that improving standards of security in brand new and refurbished properties, helps deter and reduce crime. Reducing crime and the fear of crime has direct links to better physical and mental well-being, such as with regard to high volume crimes like domestic abuse. 

SBD work closely with builders, developers, local authorities and registered housing associations to incorporate its police crime prevention standards into developments 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 SBD advice free of charge. 

Over one million homes and commercial properties have been built to SBD standards – that’s 30% of all new homes built since 1989 – resulting in reductions in crimes such as burglary of up to 87%. These are sustainable reductions each and every year, which is significant as most SBD homes are in social housing, many in deprived and higher crime areas. A number of local authorities have even gone so far as to introduce SBD standards as a planning requirement. 

Product based accreditation scheme

SBD has worked with businesses, the construction industry and standards authorities at home and abroad for many years, leading SBD to develop a product based police accreditation scheme nearly 25 years ago – the Police Preferred Specification.

Products that have met the Police Preferred Specification provide reassurance to the specifier, purchaser or user  that their products have been independently tested to a relevant security standard and fully certified by an independent third-party certification body recognised by the  United Kingdom Accreditation Service (UKAS), or tested and certified by an alternative approved body such as Sold Secure or Thatcham. 

The SBD focus is on the critical factors that combine to deliver a product’s performance - design, use, quality control and the ability to deter or prevent crime. Better quality means these products last longer too, making them more cost effective and leading to greater sustainability in crime prevention.

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