Secured by Design

The physical security of a building alone does not necessary make it ‘secure’; instead, it is a by-product of well thought out, inconspicuous crime prevention measures, that are incorporated within the whole design.

When considering future developments, it is imperative to achieve sustainable reductions in crime, to help people live and work in a safer society. Police Crime Prevention Initiatives are a police-owned organisation working on behalf of the Police Service, to deliver a wide range of crime prevention initiatives, of which they promote Secured by Design (SBD).

Supported by the DOCO, SBD provide a series of ‘design guides’ that enable the DOCO to work closely with architects, developers and local authority planners at the design stage. This will enable the DOCO to assist the developer to ‘design out crime’ by improving the layout and physical security of buildings at conception through to construction.  


Upon meeting the necessary requirements as stated within the SBD Design Guides, (such as Homes 2019 and Commercial 2015,) developers may achieve a SBD award.  This achievement illustrates that the developer has incorporated crime prevention techniques in the layout and landscaping of the immediate surroundings.

In addition to the design guides, listed on the SBD website, there are a list of accredited products which have been independently third party tested. This ensures the physical security standards of products and services are guaranteed.

The Essex Design Guide has been coordinated with the core principles of the Secured by Design Guidance documents, which have been provided below. The Essex Design Guide continues to coordinate guidance with Essex Police and the Emergency Services to ensure a collaborative partnership is continued.

Designing out Crime Officers

Designing out Crime Officers, (DOCO’s) are trained members of Police Services, who specialise in crime prevention and designing out crime.

DOCO’s may be also be referred to as Architectural Liaison Officers (ALOs) or Crime Prevention Tactical Advisers (CPTA’s). They are embedded within the 43 police services across England and Wales, in addition to Police Scotland and the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI).

Their role is to provide impartial expert advice on crime prevention through environmental design, (CPTED principles) to a wide range of design and build professionals. These include architects, builders and developers, local authority planners, building control officers, landlords, facility managers and many others.

Considering CPTED principles at the conception and planning stages is pivotal to the sustainability to further developments, ranging from building new large scale developments to major refurbishment projects. This encompasses a wide range of building sectors such as residential, education, health, transportation, business, retail and commercial to sport and leisure facilities.

The Government has placed obligations on police and local government to work together in the development of strategies for dealing with crime and anti-social behaviour, which has firmly placed the DOCO role in the planning process.

In addition, local planning policy, design codes, BREEAM (sustainability performance of buildings) and the Crime and Disorder Act 1988 influence and address the need to design out crime and deliver safe and secure communities.  

Page updated: 5/02/2020

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