UK Construction Media

Reducing crime through good design

News   •   Feb 20, 2017 11:59 GMT

In this article, the national police crime prevention initiative Secured by Design explains how we work with the construction industry and others to go beyond the minimum security in the Building Regulations to reduce crime through design and other approaches.

The Building Regulations and security

Developers and builders must take reasonable steps to prevent unauthorised access to all new homes and existing buildings converted into new homes since Part Q of the Building Regulations came into effect in England from 1st October 2015.

Part Q applies to easily accessible doors and windows that provide access into a dwelling from outside, into parts of a building containing flats from outside and into a flat from the common parts of the building.

Doors and windows will meet Part Q if they can resist physical attack by a casual or opportunist burglar by being both sufficiently robust and fitted with appropriate hardware.

In summary Part Q states: “Reasonable provision must be made to resist unauthorised access to any dwelling and any part of a building from which access can be gained to a flat within that building.” The regulation means that easily accessible doorsets, windows and rooflights are now required to be tested to PAS 24 standard or equivalent.

It should be noted that Part Q doesn’t apply to work started before 1st October 2015 or work subject to a building notice, full plans application or initial notice submitted before 1st October 2015 provided the work started on site before 1st October 2016.

How Secured by Design (SBD) worksSBD is a national police crime prevention initiative, which works on behalf of Police Forces, and alongside planners and the construction industry, to reduce crime by ‘designing out crime’. We do this in two ways:

– working with planners and developers at the design stage to include security into the built environment such as natural surveillance, landscaping and lighting
– encouraging manufacturers of products such as doors and windows, to meet ‘police preferred specification’.

This means that products are not only tested to the minimum building requirements by the manufacturer but also that they have attained third-party certification from a UK Accreditation Service (UKAS) accredited independent third-party certification authority.

By going beyond PAS 24 or equivalent and requiring certification, we are ensuring that every product meets the same standards and includes the same specifications as the one that was tested. This ensures continuity of production and reliable quality.
Certification also requires regular audits of the production process, which ensures that this level of quality is assured over time. We are the only UK wide police crime prevention initiative to do this work.

How SBD is making a difference
SBD believes that certification of products has played an important part in the impressive reductions in burglary rates since SBD was established in 1989 in response to a rise in burglary during the 1970s and ’80s, when meeting housing demand took precedence over security considerations.

A national network of ‘Designing Out Crime Officers’ based in Police Forces around the country was set up to liaise with architects, local authority planners, developers and builders at the planning stage to ‘design out crime’ to help ensure that new developments and refurbished properties would benefit from police crime prevention techniques.

During an SBD presentation at a national senior command course for police officers in January 2017, delegates were told that an SBD police accredited door or window could keep a burglar out for 15 minutes – time enough for the burglar to have been spotted and police called. In addition, delegates heard that independent academic research had found that SBD’s design principles and product security standards achieved crime reductions of up to 75% on SBD sites compared to non-SBD sites.

The Home Office and SBD
The Home Office Modern Crime Prevention Strategy (March 2016) says that where Government, law enforcement, businesses and the public work together on crime prevention, significant and sustained cuts in certain crimes can be achieved.

The Strategy refers to SBD specifically in a section about the new security element included in the building regulations to design crime out of homes and the built environment by providing every new home with doors and windows that are difficult for thieves to break into.

The Strategy states: “We are working with the police to maintain the ‘Secured by Design’ brand, which is an important source of advice on how design of, for example, housing estates or shopping precincts, can prevent crime and anti-social behaviour.”

SBD: a wealth of technical expertise

By working closely with all those involved in setting building standards as well as those planning and building developments, SBD Chief Operating Officer Jon Cole said SBD had gained considerable technical expertise.

“We have a wealth of knowledge and experience which we are happy to share with anyone involved in the building process to make buildings and built environments more resistant to crime and to help people live more securely.”

About SBD
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. Our purpose is to ‘proactively achieve sustainable reductions in crime, through design and other approaches, enabling people to live in a safer society’. Our funding comes from our 500+ member companies who have attained our security standards. These companies provide a wide range of products including doors, windows, bicycle security, perimeter fencing, mobile phones, roofing products, secondary glazing and many more. Surplus funds are fed back into crime prevention initiatives. SBD developments include such iconic sites as the 2012 London Olympics, Wembley Stadium and the Welsh and Scottish Assembly buildings.

Tel: 0203 8623 999