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The importance of Secured by Design

Every day Police Designing Out Crime Officers (DOCOs) are working closely with builders, developers, local authorities and housing associations to incorporate Secured by Design’s (SBD) police crime prevention standards into buildings. 

But why is this work to improve the physical security of buildings so important?

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.

SBD seeks to improve the security of buildings and their immediate surroundings to provide safe places to live, work, shop and visit and police forces throughout the UK have specially trained DOCOs who offer police designing out crime and SBD advice free of charge, from initial concept and design through to construction and completion.

Over one million homes and commercial properties have been built to SBD standards with reductions in crime of up to 87%. A number of local authorities have even gone so far as to introduce SBD standards as a planning requirement.

Critical to improving the physical security of buildings and the surrounding area is the use of products such as doors, windows, locks, walling systems and fencing systems that meet SBD’s security requirements.

SBD developed a product based accreditation scheme over 20 years ago – the Police Preferred Specification, which provides a recognised standard for all security products that can deter and reduce crime. SBD work with manufacturers and standards authorities to ensure that security standards are current and updated to keep pace with emerging crime trends.

front door pvc, upvc plastic door

The Police Preferred Specification scheme requires all security products to meet or exceed the performance expectations documented within the relevant security standard for that type of product. It ensures that the product is sufficiently robust to resist physical attack by casual and opportunistic criminals. 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.

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. Indeed, SBD instigated the formation of the UK Test House Studies Group and Certification Bodies Group for doorsets, windows and lock products and have chaired these groups for almost 20 years with the sole aim being to ensure there is parity between test and certification bodies. Better quality means these products last longer too, making them more cost effective and leading to greater sustainability in crime prevention.

Doors 1 2023 WEB

This work to improve the physical security of buildings using SBD accredited products is the reason why so many door and window companies are seeing huge benefits in SBD membership. There has been a significant growth in demand for advice and requests for details of companies that have membership with SBD, which has been evidenced in the increased traffic to the SBD website and the reported increased sales of SBD member’s products.

The police service signpost customers looking for security products to, where a comprehensive list of the many hundred companies that produce the products that meet SBD Police Preferred Specification can be found. Each company has its own page on the SBD website giving full details of the company, contact information and a detailed list of all their SBD accredited products.

SBD represents a powerful, trusted police brand which inspires greater public confidence in products and is the only way for companies to obtain police recognition for security-related products in the UK. For SBD membership or technical enquiries, visit