Secured by Design


About SBD

Secured by Design (SBD) was launched in 1989 after two decades of rapid housing sector growth throughout the UK. During these years, the emphasis on construction was meeting demand with little regard to providing built-in security. Many large estates – and smaller ones too – suffered an increase in crime. Anonymity was absolute, escape routes were everywhere and burglary became a growth industry.

In response, the Police Service gave its backing to Secured by Design to ‘design out crime’ to help ensure that new developments and refurbished properties would benefit from police crime prevention techniques as well as the considerable technical expertise gained from working closely with all those involved in setting building standards, giving planning permission and building homes.

How we work

We provide built-in security by focusing on two proven principles of crime prevention:

  • environmental design – our guidance, which is based on sound academic principles, assists developers in building in design principles that create secure environments and spaces right from the design phase
  • product quality – we accredit products such as doors, windows, skylights and locks, that achieve a ‘police preferred specification ‘ – a benchmark required by a growing number of developers that goes beyond the minimum security standards.

Benefits of designing out crime

  • Independent research shows that designing out crime principles can reduce burglary rates by as much as 75%
  • It also increases the lifetime of a building and reduces maintenance costs and void rates
  • Crime and anti-social behaviour is reduced and the fear of crime is addressed

The basic principles of designing out crime

  • Layout of routes, spaces and entrances to reduce blind alleyways and escape routes and to ensure adequate lighting in all areas
  • Clear functions and purposes of spaces to make it difficult for criminals to move around undetected and good planning and maintenance to ensure that there are no underused and derelict spaces
  • Natural surveillance makes it difficult for criminals to commit crime without being seen, for example by having windows overlooking front doors of other units
  • Ownership and defensible space should make clear whether a space is public or private and what behaviour is expected in each space
  • Physical security and target hardening measures, such as tested and certificated doors and windows, should be incorporated into the building
  • Management and maintenance should ensure that spaces are kept tidy and maintained as derelict spaces give the impression that crime will be tolerated in those areas

Physical security

Target hardening is crucial in the reduction of crime. Secured by Design has worked with industry for many years to ensure that standards are current and updated to follow emerging crime trends.

Secured by Design also works to promote high-quality security standards in products and now has more than 500 member companies with products that have achieved Police Preferred Specification. These products and companies can be found on the Secured by Design website ( The SBD membership scheme recognises products that have not only been tested to relevant security standards but, crucially, are also fully certificated by an independent third-party test house accredited by UKAS, which is a more stringent measure than called for within Part Q.

Independent certification is important to ensure continuity of production through ongoing auditing, which ensures production and the delivery on site of a more secure and reliable product. Secured by Design attributes the use of products that are independently certificated to recognised security standards as having been responsible for the consistently high reductions in crime that have been achieved, as verified by numerous independent academic research studies.

Development Award

The Development Award is a certificate given to building developments which, following consultation with local police designing out crime officers, are built to Secured by Design guidelines and so reduce the opportunity for crime. This Award acknowledges the physical and environmental security measures that have been put in place within a development or building and is based on the guidance documents created by Secured by Design.

SBD National Building Approval makes discharging security requirements very easy

Secured by Design recently created the National Building Approval (SBD NBA) scheme, which is aimed at developers and those commissioning new-build developments or major refurbishment schemes.

By joining the scheme, companies gain SBD membership and a bespoke Technical Schedule that provides a description of how Secured by Design’s requirement for physical security will be met for any building or buildings within current or future developments.

In a nutshell, SBD do full due diligence on the company’s supply chain to ensure that all products used meet stipulated security criteria and issue an award that not only shows prospective clients that security is taken seriously, but can also be used as proof that the legal requirements for physical security have been met.

Who we work with

We are governed by a UK-wide representative Board whose members include Chief Constables and we work with senior police officers from around the country. We liaise with National Government and regulatory authorities to set the regulations and standards. Every Police force around the country has designing out crime officers who work closely with architects, developers and local authority planners to advise on new homes, schools, commercial buildings and car parks (through our Park Mark scheme).