MOST Clearing House Best Practices This Best Practice is one of the
Best Practices for Human Settlements
presented in the MOST Clearing House
Best Practices Database.

Secured by Design, Leiderdorp
The Netherlands

Keyword: Crime Prevention


The police in the Hollands Midden (Central Holland) region, have devised a Dutch "Secured by Design" police seal of approval. A booklet describes the requirements that dwellings and the environment must meet to be eligible for the seal.


Social safety and burglary prevention have received considerable attention in plans for new developments. Local authorities, housing associations, project developers, town planners, architects and residents often approach the police for advice. As such advice is non-binding, it is only partly implemented into projects, if at all. The situation persuaded the Hollands Midden police to issue a clear package of requirements, linked with a seal of quality: the Netherlands Police 'Secured by Design" seal of approval. The idea is based on the British 'Secured by Design' project. Burglaries on estates in Britain awarded the 'approved design' seal were ultimately found to have fallen by an average of 40 %. The residents consequently feel safer.


The Secured by Design police seal of approval is granted when an extensive package of requirements is met. The package is applicable on five levels: district organisation, parceling, detailing of the residential environment, residents' participation/management and the building. At each level, so-called design components are distinguished. Linkage to surrounding buildings, the scale and height are important, for example, for a safe estate.
Safety requirements have been laid down for each of these components. The so-called 'criminality theory' is then applied to the package of requirements. According to this theory, there are eight aspects that determine the crime risk: the presence of potential perpetrators, the presence of 'social eyes' , visibility, involvement/responsibility, attractiveness, accessibility, escapes routes, quality and physical vulnerability of the potential target. In addition to the theory, the practical experience of the police was also drawn on in formulating the safety requirements.

The dwelling and residential environment are assessed on the basis of the package of requirements. The 'checklist' shows five scales, with 55 associated subject components. To be eligible for the seal of approval, eighteen of the 55 components must be fully achieved. These components all relate to two levels: detailing of the residential environment and the building. Examples are; short straight rear paths; windows in the side walls of dwellings; good visibility from the dwelling onto the street; good street lighting; and, of course burglar-proof windows and doors. The other three levels must be achieved for 60%. Examples are: not too massive or large-scale construction; cycle and pedestrian routes running safely along the housing; greenery and play space.

The package of requirements meets the new European standards and the existing Association of Plastic Frontage Element Manufacturers rules for burglar-proofing. Under these rules, not just the locks but all elements of the frontage (windows and doors) are checked to see if they are burglar-proof. Two approved inspection bodies check the frontage elements against these rules. To obtain the police seal of approval, the construction elements used must be approved.

The police seal of approval may be applied for in writing from a special Holland Midden Police inspection committee set up for this purpose. Documentation material on the project should accompany the application. Following endorsement by the inspection committee the project is granted provisional approval as 'seal of approval applied for'. On completion, the project is finally approved and the seal granted.


Hollands Midden Police cooperated with the Housing Experiments Steering Committee, the Crime Prevention Directorate and the Ministry of Justice in developing the seal of approval. Together, they adapted the British package to the Dutch situation. Five pilot projects in the Holland Midden region were used to see whether approval is viable. The Seal was finally developed during 1995. Three certificates have now been granted for construction plans.


The writing of the manual and the necessary studies were financed by the national government, the police and the Housing Experiments Steering Committee. Certification is undertaken free of charge. Security facilities will be paid for by the builder himself. This will cost approximately 400 guilders per dwelling (a relatively small amount in relation to the cost of an average dwelling)


    The Netherlands


    The Netherlands


    Hollands Midden Police, Leiderdorp
    T. Hesselman / R.Kool Hollands Midden Police
    PO Box 4240
    The Netherlands
    2350 CE
    00 31 71 54598440

    Housing Experiments Steering Committee, (SEV) Rotterdam

    Ministry of Justice, The Hague

To MOST Clearing House Homepage