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Secured by Design benefits residents a decade later

Stevenage’s Stoneyhall Estate continues to benefit from the Secured by Design Gold Award that it achieved for its security features over twelve years after the development was completed - with only one attempted burglary being recorded in the last four years.

Now considered one of Hertfordshire's Secured by Design (SBD) success stories, originally it was an estate of several high rise concrete blocks built in the 1950s when Stevenage became the first of a series of ‘New Towns’, and had a high crime rate which had a significant impact on police resources in the area.

The local council decided to redesign the estate and, after planning permission was given in 2004, it was demolished and replaced by low level flats and small houses built to SBD standards for the built environment and physical security. Hertfordshire Constabulary’s County Designing Out Crime Officer (DOCO) John White (now retired) and local Crime Prevention Officer Mark Montgomery (now DOCO) were heavily involved in the process throughout, with the estate being built in three phases, and the last phase of construction being signed off as having achieved the SBD Gold Award in 2010.

The main changes to the estate included quality low-rise blocks and small houses - 140 affordable houses and flats, and 44 apartments for private sale - SBD accredited doors, windows and entry and locking systems; burglar alarms; locked bike storage; lighting; a community centre and small garden areas; shops, sports facilities and park. However, the development went one step further to incorporate proven crime prevention techniques into the built environment too, such as natural surveillance and defensible space to deter criminal activity.

Stoneyhall Estate 2022 WEB

Since the redevelopment the burglary rate has reduced dramatically on the development, with a review of the estate’s crime figures carried out in 2022 showing that between the 1st of June 2018 & the 31st of May 2022 there was only one attempted burglary on the estate.

Mark Montgomery, Crime Prevention Design Advisor, based at Hertfordshire Constabulary’s HQ at Welwyn Garden City, said "This is a positive and firm endorsement of what we do every day – using SBD's proven crime prevention techniques to reduce crime and the fear of crime and keep the public safe in their homes".

Guy Ferguson, CEO at Police CPI, said: “This is an excellent example of where thoughtful, intelligent planning has worked to the benefit of communities. The Secured by Design processes ensure that developments are carefully considered with safety and security in mind. Our SBD award scheme ensures that physical security is built in using products that have been proven to the highest standards of crime prevention. One attempted burglary in four years is fantastic, especially as an “attempted” burglary is a success in that the potential thieves were not able to gain access”.

Independent academic research shows that SBD developments that incorporate crime prevention techniques in the building design and layout and accredited products in the physical security of properties can reduce crimes like burglary by up to 75% in new-build homes and by up to 63% in refurbishments than comparable non-SBD properties (source: University of Huddersfield and Home Office).

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 has produced a series of authoritative Design Guides to assist the building, design and construction industry to 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. They are available for download for free at

Product based accreditation scheme

Fitting Police Preferred Specification products makes it significantly more difficult for burglars to break into a property unseen, particularly where there is good surveillance from neighbouring properties or the street. Building in extra security at the design stage does not add significant costs to the development, but does act as a deterrent to criminality and lead to lower maintenance costs over time.

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 over 20 years ago – the Police Preferred Specification.

Products that have met the Police Preferred Specification provide reassurance to the specifier, purchaser or user. 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