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Domestic Home Safes

The majority of burglars’ are opportunists and aim to take as many valuable items as possible from a home in the shortest time possible, so they’re looking for small items which are easily portable and which can be easily hidden in their pockets.

Jewellery in bedrooms is always a favourite item to steal and sell on and often this has a sentimental value and is irreplaceable. Keeping these items safe is important and hiding it in a drawer or a wardrobe is not the answer, as burglars will look in these places.

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So what are the most common items stolen in a burglary?

  • Cash and credit cards
  • Jewellery
  • Mobiles phones
  • IT equipment
  • Car keys
  • Watches
  • ID Documents – Passports, driving licence or other identification documents
  • Electrical goods

These are items that can easily be stored inside a safe. Therefore, fitting a Secured by Design (SBD) approved domestic safe in your home is an effective way to improve security and protect these valuables.

SBD approved safes

There are several standards for safes and secure safe cabinets in the UK, which can be confusing when looking for the right product for your home.

When buying a safe or secure cabinet you want to ensure that you make the correct choice for your circumstances and risk and considering the below factors can assist you in making the appropriate choice.

When choosing a safe you need to consider:

1What you need to protect - money, important documents, jewellery, gold, watches? This will help determine what size the safe needs to be and what type - free standing, under floor or wall safe.

2What is the maximum cash value of the items that will be stored inside? This can often help you when choosing the appropriate safe commensurate to the value of items stored within it.

3What type of locking system you require – a Keylock, Combination lock or an Electronic Digital lock?

4Do you need fire protection? If so, for how long? Similar to security rating, there are different levels of fire protection.

5Where will the safe be installed? This will depend on house layout and personal choice - we do not recommend the main bedroom as this is often the first place a burglar will target when looking for jewellery.

6How will the safe be fixed? This is especially important and should follow the manufacture guidelines and be installed by a reputable security professional to ensure it complies with any insurance requirements.

7Please check with your insurance company that grade of safe complies with their current policy requirements

SBD have several members that specialise in this area that comply with the Police Preferred Specification and they will be able to advise you on the right product for you.

The Standards

SBD safes are approved to two standards - either BS EN 1143 (the Eurograde system) or Sold Secure who have a dedicated test specification for Domestic Safes (SS304)

Under the Eurograde system, Grade 0 represents the lowest grade and Grade 7 the highest.

In the UK:

  • the cash ratings are given by the Insurance industry in £000’s
  • the valuables rating is always ten times the cash rating - for example a Grade 0 safe has a cash rating of £6,000 and a valuable rating of £60,000.

Safes that have passed the Eurograde system should have a blue badge on the inside of the door indicating the grade (0-7), model, serial number, year of manufacturer and the certification body.

Sold Secure Domestic Safes, SS304, has 2 grades – Silver & Gold. Note that the cash rating under SS304 system may differ from the Eurograde system.

External Key Safes

These small external safes are normally used to store a small number of door keys. Often used by care professionals to gain access to vulnerable clients with restricted mobility, holiday lets and internet B&B companies.

They are installed into brick or concrete on the outside of your property and your keys are accessed by a combination code.

If the product is not professionally installed, you must follow the manufacturer's instructions exactly to make sure your key safe is fitted securely:

  • It should be fitted to a solid surface such as brickwork or concrete using the supplied approved fittings.
  • You should avoid putting the key safe in clear view from the road where it can be seen by passers-by, but it must obviously still be accessible.

The two main standards for this are Sold Secure SS314 and LPS 1175

Please don’t leave your house keys under a flowerpot or front door mat!

Secure Safe Cabinets

The standard for lighter duty secure safe cabinets is BS EN14450. So, if you work from home or have a garden office a security cabinet to this standard should be considered for those sensitive business documents and files.

BS EN14450 falls below the security level of a fully certified high grade safe (BS EN 1143), but still offers a good level of protection against an opportunist burglar. However, you may want to check with your insurance company if your policy includes this standard.

BS EN14450 has two security levels S1 and S2 – S2 is the higher of the two.

Other standards you might see in relation to secure cabinets:

Sold Secure also test for Security Cabinets; it’s called SS314 and has a Bronze - Silver - Gold rating

The Loss Prevention Certification Board – LPS -1175, LPS-1183 & LPS-2081 (Stealth)

Warringtonfire STS205 and STS225 (Stealth)

The higher the security rating, the more formidable to criminal attack of the security product.

Gun Cabinets

The secure storage of lawfully held Firearms is of upmost importance to the Police, and a condition of the issuing of a firearms certificate. The Home Office have published revised guidance that the Firearms Licensing Department will be referring to when considering the suitability and issue of licences.

There is a British standard for gun cabinets (BS 7558:1992). Before you buy a cabinet, you should ask the seller to show you a test certificate to confirm the cabinet meets the above standard.

SBD approved gun cabinets are approved to Sold Secure SS302 Security Cabinets for Firearms.

Sold Secure test to three grades, with Gold being the highest grade.

The Bronze level meets all the requirements of BS 7558:1992 and importantly any SBD approved gun safe have all been tested and annual certificated to an approved standard to be awarded the ‘Police Preferred Specification’.

For further guidance on firearms and the law please refer to the government website or contact your local police firearms licensing team.

If you are looking to fit a safe or security cabinet, a Locksmith registered with the Master Locksmiths Association can fit it securely.

Always be vigilant - report sightings of suspicious activity in your neighbourhood to the police.

Use the 101 number for passing information, or 999 in an emergency when a crime is taking place.