Monday 5 June 2023

Specialist & Supported Housing Design Guide launched

Secured by Design (SBD) have launched a Specialist and Supported Housing Design Guide to sit alongside Homes 2023, SBD’s updated guidance for domestic properties.

Both documents have been designed to cater for the security of new and refurbished homes, including those for disabled and older people, victims of domestic abuse or those with specific protected characteristics. 

The guides incorporate the latest security standards, developed to address emerging criminal methods of attack, and includes references to the Building Regulations and other statutory requirements across the United Kingdom.

Michael Brooke, Deputy Chief Operating Officer at Police Crime Prevention Initiatives comments: 

“We have become increasingly aware of the need to consider adapted, accessible and inclusive housing and neighbourhoods in our advice, so as not to create additional barriers for disabled and older residents. 

“Such inclusive design aims to remove barriers that create undue effort and separation and ensure all buildings, places, and surrounding spaces can be easily and comfortably accessed and used by everyone.

“The requirements and recommendations within this guide have been developed by SBD with various standards owners and trade associations and are based upon sound research findings that have proven to deliver significant crime reductions and cost efficiency savings for a wide range of stakeholders including local authorities, housing associations, landlords, residents and the police service.”

You can view / download the Specialist & Supported Housing Design Guide for free here.

SBD Development Awards

Developers around the UK can achieve 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.

These awards are gained by working with SBD’s specially trained police Designing Out Crime Officers (DOCOs), who advise architects, developers and local authority planners long before construction begins – and continue to provide advice and guidance until the development is complete. This service is provided free of charge.

SBD Design Guides

Homes 2023 and the Specialist and Supported Housing Design Guides are part of a series of authoritative Design Guides produced by SBD to assist the building, design and construction industry 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 and cover a range of building sectors, including residential, education, health, transport and commercial. All SBD Design Guides are available for download for free here.

Should you wish to contribute to any of the SBD Design Guides please contact Secured by Design by email at

Architects & Town Planners

Architects and Town Planners can request a professional development session on crime prevention and designing out crime from SBD here.

This RIBA Accredited online course provides architects and planners with an introduction to the Secured by Design (SBD) initiative. 

The completion of this course attracts 3 CPD points for architects from RIBA and achieving this CPD course will provide a better understanding about the benefits of SBD and contribute to an effective working relationship with the local police Designing Out Crime Officer (DOCO).

Secured by Design

Secured by Design is owned by the UK Police Service with the specific aim of reducing crime and helping people live more safely.

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.

Since SBD was launched, various organisations have highlighted crime reductions attributed to SBD crime prevention measures and techniques. 

These organisations include the Secure Societies Institute at the University of Huddersfield (2009); The Caledonian Environment Centre: commissioned by Glasgow Housing Association and Strathclyde Police and supported by the Scottish Government (2009); and Police Scotland and Kingdom Housing Association (Sept 2017).

In addition, the Home Office ‘Modern Crime Prevention Strategy’ references SBD in relation to the importance of removing or designing out opportunities to offend. It 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.”

Academic and other research shows that improving standards of security in brand new and refurbished properties, helps deter and reduce crime. Reducing crime and the fear of crime has direct links to better physical and mental well-being, such as with regard to high volume crimes like domestic abuse.

SBD work closely with builders, developers, local authorities and registered housing associations to incorporate its police crime prevention standards into developments from initial concept and design, through to construction and completion. 

Police forces throughout the UK have specially trained Designing Out Crime Officers (DOCOs) who offer police designing out crime and SBD advice free of charge.

Over one million homes and commercial properties have been built to SBD standards – that’s 30% of all new homes built since 1989 – resulting in reductions in crimes such as burglary of up to 87%. 

These are sustainable reductions each and every year, which is significant as most SBD homes are in social housing, many in deprived and higher crime areas. A number of local authorities have even gone so far as to introduce SBD standards as a planning requirement.

Product based accreditation scheme

SBD has worked with businesses, the construction industry and standards authorities at home and abroad for many years, leading SBD to develop a product based police accreditation scheme nearly 25 years ago – the Police Preferred Specification.

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 such as Sold Secure or Thatcham.

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. Better quality means these products last longer too, making them more cost effective and leading to greater sustainability in crime prevention.

Find out more at

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