Secured by Design: Designing

Secured by Design (SBD) is the national police crime prevention initiative. It is part of Police Crime Prevention Initiatives, a police owned organisation that works on behalf of Police & Crime Commissioners and Chief Constables to deliver a wide range of crime prevention and demand reduction initiatives across the UK.

The housing boom of the 1960s, ‘70s and ‘80s, led to homes being built quickly and cheaply, often with little consideration give to security. Crime increased significantly, particularly burglary. In response, the Police Service set up SBD in 1989 and since it was launched SBD have built up a wealth of experience promoting crime prevention and security through active involvement in local communities - constantly adapting the advice to keep pace with changing patterns of criminal behaviour.

As a national crime prevention scheme, SBD has achieved significant successes. In our work with National Government, we have influenced national planning policy to embed crime prevention in the planning process and established police security standards in the building and construction industry.

SBD work to include proven crime prevention techniques and measures into the layout and landscaping of new developments and also work to improve the physical security of buildings using products, such as doors, windows, locks and walling systems that meet SBD security requirements.

This has led to more than one million homes built to SBD crime prevention standards across the UK - that’s 30% of all new homes built - with reductions in crime of up to 87% year-on-year as reported by Police Scotland in 2017.

Key to such achievements is the network of SBD trained Designing Out Crime Officers based in Police Forces and local authorities around the UK, who specialise in designing out crime and who liaise with local authority planners, developers and architects to design out crime at the planning stage in a wide range of building sectors. A number of local authorities have even gone so far as to introduce SBD standards as a planning requirement.

SBD’s most iconic buildings include the 2012 London Olympics site, the 2014 Commonwealth Games Village, Wembley Stadium, the National Stadium of Wales, and the Scottish and Welsh Assembly Buildings.

Development awards

Developers around the UK receive 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.

Developers can gain these awards after working with SBD’s Designing Out Crime Officers, who advise architects, developers and local authority planners long before construction begins - and continue to provide advice and guidance until the development is complete.

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.

Our guides cover a range of building sectors, including residential, education, health, transport and commercial.

The Design Guides are available for download at:

Interactive 3D Design Guide We have, in collaboration with an architecture and graphic studio, created a 3D virtual toolkit for planners, architects, surveyors, and anyone involved with designing, building and commissioning developments. It helps to build an understanding of security in developments and highlight best practice solutions. The interactive guides available in this toolkit are based on our residential, commercial and school guides.

A series of scenarios, such as the layout of communal spaces, use of lighting, perimeter security and landscape planting, highlight the design decisions that could increase the risk of crime and anti-social behaviour. Each scene has an alternative solution detailing the relevant standards recommended by Secured by Design and the police service.

The requirements and recommendations within the toolkit are based upon verified research and have proven to achieve a reduction in crime risk of up to 87%.

The interactive 3D virtual toolkit can be found at

National Building Approval

SBD’s National Building Approval (NBA) scheme makes it easier for companies and organisations commissioning new build developments or major refurbishment work to meet SBD’s police security standards or achieve Building Regulation compliance for security in England, Scotland and Wales, whichever is appropriate. Our scheme can apply to any building sector.

- We carry out the administration: SBD will check that basic levels of security are being incorporated into standard property types and ensure companies in the supply chain are providing products, like doors and windows, which meet our standards.

- Saves time and money: By removing a significant administrative burden from our NBA member companies, we are saving them valuable time and money because of the faster and simplified process to reach our standards.

- Acceptable throughout the UK: This means that an SBD NBA member can build anywhere in the UK safe in knowledge that police concerns for crime prevention have been met. SBD issues a ‘Silver Certificate’ to recognise physical security standards have been achieved to prevent crime and anti- social behaviour.

Many of our NBA members choose to aspire to a Gold Certificate, which recognises that crime prevention measures are not only built into physical security of buildings but also into the surrounding layout and landscaping too. This is where we use such techniques as maximising natural surveillance, creating defensible space and limiting excessive through movement to keep people safe.

NBA is for companies like developers, builders and contractors as well as organisations like local authorities, housing associations and social landlords. Many of our member companies are household name residential developers and one of the largest local authorities in Europe became the first local authority to join our scheme in 2018.

Membership costs a nominal £10 + VAT for a three-year contract - that’s because we are more interested in providing safer communities than in deriving an income from this initiative. To apply to join SBD’s NBA, in the first instance, email: and we will get in touch with you.


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