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Healthcare security managers keen to work with SBD after seeing showcase buildings in Harlow, Liverpool and Bradford

Healthcare security managers are looking forward to working with Secured by Design (SBD) after being told about the significant difference that crime prevention measures can make to keeping patients, visitors and staff safe.

Delegates at the National Association for Healthcare Security Conference on Thursday, 8 November heard Michael Brooke, Senior Technical Officer, SBD, showcase three very different healthcare buildings, which had received police advice at the design stage.

These developments were:

The £7.5m Lister House Health Centre, Harlow, Essex, which opened its doors in October 2018, to provide a GP surgery, dental practice and pharmacy within a single building - providing security to the overall health hub but also separately to each facility.

Alder Hey Children’s Hospital, Liverpool, Merseyside, completed in 2015 at a cost of £237m, with crime prevention features that were noted at the time for their pioneering landscaping to help protect people against hostile vehicle mitigation.

Westbourne Green Community Hospital, Bradford, West Yorkshire, which is situated at the heart of a Muslim community, and proved to be a milestone – helping to turn what had been a high crime area up to 2005 into a thriving community.

Addressing health security managers at their annual conference in Birmingham, Michael said physical security measures in health care facilities could include SBD accredited security related products like doors, windows, glazing, grilles, shutters and access control systems, which had been third-party certificated to prove their robust quality to resist physical attack and be fit for purpose over time.

Layout and landscaping measures could include lots of natural surveillance to increase visibility, use of boundary fencing and gating to create defensible space and limiting excessive through movement to remove alleyways and cut-throughs to prevent hiding places and escape routes.

Different crime prevention techniques could be used to protect specific healthcare functions ranging from retail outlets in hospital reception areas and living accommodation nearby through to specialist areas, such as A&E, maternity and even helicopter landing areas.

Michael also described the work underway to produce ‘SBD Healthcare 2019’, one of a range of SBD Design Guides in various building sectors. It would include buildings, premises or temporary accommodation used for the purpose of delivering healthcare or related services, or including those which support the provision of healthcare.

Providing police advice at the design stage is the role of a network of SBD trained police officers and staff attached to Police Forces around the country. They are known as Designing Out Crime Officers (DOCOs).

Where developments were being proposed, Michael urged security managers to ask whether DOCOs had been consulted; impress on decision-makers the importance of SBD standards and principles; and provide feedback on SBD Healthcare, which is due to go out to consultation in early 2019.

Michael said there had been lots of positive feedback from organisers and delegates, who were keen to work with SBD.

“We were delighted to be invited to present at this conference. I'm sure this new partnership will bring great benefits to both organisations but more importantly to staff and patients throughout the UK seeking, receiving and providing treatment.

“We hope our new guide will provide clear and concise guidance on all aspects of security provision in various buildings and for various functions, and will enable healthcare professionals to focus on the more important task of keeping the nation healthy,” he said.

It was the first time SBD has addressed the National Association for Healthcare Security, which was formed in 1994, as a non-profit making professional organisation to develop security management in the healthcare sector.