Police CPI CEO Guy Ferguson in SJUK exclusive

August 1, 2023


Police CPI, CEO Guy Ferguson discusses the spheres of influence the organisation and its initiatives have across many fields and how it is helping to keep communities safe.

Police Crime Prevention Initiatives (Police CPI) is a police-owned organisation that works on behalf of the police service throughout the UK to deliver a wide range of crime prevention and police demand reduction initiatives.

It raises its own money at no cost to the police service, or the public purse: “this allows us to be agile and deliver difficult crime and police demand reduction projects within very short time periods”, says CEO Guy Ferguson, a former Detective Chief Superintendent and Senior Investigating Officer in the Metropolitan Police.

Guy enjoyed a 32-year career in the Met. He led more than 50 murder investigations, was heavily involved in the body recovery following the Paddington rail crash in October 1999 and the police response to the Asian Tsunami in December 2004.

Guy always led by example and with the greatest care and respect for the victims of crime, of which he is rightfully proud. “During the public inquiry to the Paddington train crash, we were praised for the work we had done and most importantly, by the victims’ families for having dealt with it professionally and with compassion.”

He was awarded a Commissioner’s Commendation for Bravery for the action he took during the 2011 summer riots, which started in London. And, as Borough Commander, he achieved a 35% reduction in crime in five years topping the Met’s confidence and satisfaction figures.

Guy retired from the Metropolitan Police in 2014 and spent the next year or so doing some consultancy work and a “bit of lecturing here and there”, but he quickly tired of it. “I was just talking about things I’d done, or how I’d do things in the future, rather than doing it, and I found that a little frustrating.”

At that time, the Association of Chief Police Officers was folding, and a new body was coming in. The Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime had agreed to take ownership of police and crime prevention initiatives and change its name to Police Crime Prevention Initiatives (PCPI), and Guy came in to manage that transition. But then, the General Manager and Managing Director decided not to continue, and he was asked to take over. It was 2016 and as Police CPI CEO, Guy Ferguson was a busy man again.

“I loved my time in policing, and I never really gave up on it. I never unsaid the oath. I was looking for something a little meatier and the role kind of found me.”

Police CPI partnerships

Acting as a catalyst to bring organisations together to reduce crime and the fear of crime, and create safer communities Police CPI’s partners include the Home Office, Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government, Local Authorities, British and European standards authorities, trade associations, test houses, certification bodies, the construction industry, manufacturers, and many other organisations.

Besides the phenomenally successful Secured by Design initiative, Police CPI has spearheaded other crime prevention projects including:

  • launching its Police Crime Prevention Academy to provide a new generation of Ofqual accredited qualifications in crime prevention and designing out crime following an initial agreement in 2017 with the College of Policing
  • administering the National Police Chiefs’ Council’s alarms policy since 1996, which has resulted in more than 1 million fewer calls to the police to respond to false alarms or alarms involving faulty equipment since 1996
  • becoming the accreditation body for Business Crime Reduction Partnerships, which seek to reduce crime and anti-social behaviour in towns and cities around the country
  • conducting due diligence on all companies applying to use delegated police powers
    via the Community Accreditation Scheme (CSAS).

Guy continues, “We have been involved in the Safer Streets initiative since its inception and meet with the Home Office every two weeks on this. We also have regular calls with Counter Terrorism Policing and the National Security Protective Authority (NSPA) and work closely with the Department of Transport; they have just asked us if we would consider doing something for them around heavy goods vehicles, so at a strategic level we are helping to make a difference.”

Police CPI reports as a portfolio into Chief Constable Serena Kennedy’s new Prevention Co-ordination Committee, “which is about more than policing”, says Guy. It currently advising about changes to planning regulations to make all buildings safe. “What we are trying to influence – and this is going out for consultation in September – is that the existing planning regulations, which at the moment only apply to new builds, are extended to refurbishments and renovations.”

Rural crime is another issue. “We have got a piece of legislation going through at the moment which will require manufacturers to put an indelible marking on farm vehicles amongst other things,” says Guy of the bridge that Police CPI provides between policing and the private sector.

Talking tactics

There is a lot being achieved at a tactical level too says Guy, of which Secured by Design (SBD) – the official police security initiative that works to improve the security of buildings and their immediate surroundings to provide safe places to live, work, shop and visit – is a fine an example.

SBD’s product-based accreditation scheme – the Police Preferred Specification – provides a recognised standard for all security products that can deter and reduce crime.

“There are currently many hundreds of companies producing thousands of attack resistant crime prevention products, across 30 different crime categories, which have achieved Police Preferred Specification, so in terms of industry and commerce, Police CPI’s influence is wide.

Added to this is the guidance and support that SBD gives to developers. From the Secured by Design Homes guide and Secured by Design Schools guides, Guy says, “we have produced a whole ton of guides that nudge people along to build things in such a way that they will safely prevent
crime. That bit is so exciting because it is legacy stuff. 50 years hence, it will be preventing crime.”

Surprising the sceptics

It hasn’t all been plain sailing for Guy and the team. “Our biggest challenge was trying to get policing to understand what we did and believe in it. I say that because previously, we had hidden our light under a bushel – people either didn’t know or associated us with the bad name that crime prevention used to have, which was the dusty officer sat under the stairs that nobody ever spoke to.”

“Policing was also sceptical about our motives; we were seen as some grubby commercial company which was trying to make money out of policing. We had to work hard to make them understand that we are police owned, police directed, and our objectives are entirely in tune with policing; we want to reduce demand on policing through crime prevention. Convincing them that there are no fat cats, no great shareholder benefits, it’s not for profit, every penny goes back into crime prevention, was difficult. However, we see ourselves very much as an operational arm
of policing, so we are a police organisation.”

Overcoming challenges

While Police CPI stats are, and always have been, testament to its success from a crime prevention perspective,
Guy doesn’t think it was stats alone that won over sceptics. “We managed to get a very sympathetic
high-level board together, so we have seven Chief Constables from all over the UK, all of whom have their own spheres of influence and have helped me gain access to other forces and other areas. It’s that structure that has helped us to win hearts and minds.”

Stakeholder management is key. “We often find ourselves problem solving, working as that safe bridge between police and industry to bring together enough brain power and enough practical solutions to address problems in the built environment.”

In addition to shaping the design of products now, Police CPI also influences the standards that are required from products later. “A couple of years ago criminals worked out how to snap locks, says Guy. “We worked with industry and the standards agency and within about three months we were able to come up with a solution, working with industry, whereby the locks were designed flush against the door so they couldn’t get at them. We gave industry 12 months to retool and redesign their doors and then imposed it as a standard. So, we responded to a problem that was emerging quickly and with the help of the private sector, designed it out.”

Looking to the future

Guy says he plans to do more of the “traditional crime prevention stuff” and expand on the Secured by Design aspect in terms of IoT enabled devices, with SBD’s Secure Connected Device accreditation – “we already have a government standard and a solution for business in place for this and are actively pushing them towards it” says Guy.

He finishes by saying, “We will also be doing a lot more training, helping to professionalise the role of policing and with it regrow that public trust and confidence in its purest form; demonstrating to the public that we’ve checked their staff, and their staff are what they would expect them to be as public servants.”

Retirement it seems, is off the cards. There is work to be done and Guy is determined to do it.

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