Published On: Tue, Apr 21st, 2020

Guy Ferguson, CEO, Police Crime Prevention Initiatives

Favourite sport: Rugby. Staunch England fan. Played for various Met Police sides. Now Vice-Chair of the Met Police Rugby Club.
Keen cyclist: Takes part in the annual charity Croydon to Arnhem ride to commemorate Operation Market Garden.
Avid reader: Collected thousands of military history books, which have overflowed from my study into the living room. It’s a joke at home that if anyone mentions something, I say: “I have a book about that.”
Ideal holiday: Cycling in Europe. It wouldn’t be a Ferguson family holiday without a visit to a wartime bunker or museum.
Pets: Two black labradors, both failed police dogs, called Tom and Jerry (brothers). One lacks drive and has a fondness for the sofa whilst the other is too.

Working Day: Every day starts the same: rise around 5am and walk our
two dogs. From then, no two days are the same. Sometimes breakfast is grabbing a bite on the move. I could have meetings at the Home Office or Scotland Yard. Alternatively, I may be travelling beyond London to visit a Chief Constable (I know many of them); or I could be meeting a standards agency to discuss quality and performance; or visiting a member company to discuss a new product. The day is finished when it’s done, but I can be quite late, which my family are used to during my police career. But I do like Fridays at home to catch up with work (often with one of my dogs snoring under my desk whilst I’m on the phone: I do apologise to callers when that happens).

The Interview:

Guy Ferguson readily accepts our request for an interview but his hectic schedule makes him a hard man to pin down. Our location is as low key as you can get – a slightly old-fashioned railway platform café. There is a solitary member of staff behind the counter. All the other tables are empty. Guy is on his homeward journey from a day-long conference.

Smartly suited from his keynote address just five hours previously, Guy is charmingly welcoming. As he talks about his work, it soon becomes clear that he doesn’t seek the spotlight for himself, rather the organisation he leads – Police Crime Prevention Initiatives (PCPI), which is a major catalyst for crime prevention and a parent of a number of crime prevention initiatives to make communities safer.

A new start with PCPI – Guy completed his 32-year career with the Metropolitan Police at the time when PCPI was looking for new leadership and an organisation prepared to be its supervisory anchor following the demise of the Association of Chief Police Officers. Well known for his commitment to crime prevention and infectious enthusiasm for getting work done, Guy was appointed in 2016. The Mayor’s Office for Policing & Crime in London gallantly took on the ownership of PCPI on behalf of the rest of the UK.

Restructuring PCPI – Guy immediately set about strengthening the PCPI board with a number of Chief Constables and Assistant Chief Constables to demonstrate that PCPI is an organisation controlled and directed by police – and has UK-wide reach. As if to underline Guy’s reputation amongst the highest levels of policing, the board has been further strengthened by Martin Hewitt, Chair of the National Police Chiefs’ Council.

Altruistic in outlook and operations, PCPI operates at no cost to the police service or public purse. Reducing crime is not only important for the public, but also it helps police forces make the most of their limited resources to free up capacity for what they alone can deal with. All income is ploughed back into crime prevention.

Secured by Design (SBD) – PCPI’s most mature initiative is Secured by Design (SBD), which was set up by the police service in 1989 following the housing boom of the 1960s, ‘70s and ‘80s when homes were built quickly and cheaply, often without any basic security. Burglary soared.

SBD set about working with government, the construction industry, standards authorities, trade associations and manufacturers to establish its own robust security standard – its Police Preferred Specification – which requires products like doors and windows to be sufficiently robust to withstand attack from opportunistic criminals and therefore capable of deterring and reducing crime. To meet SBD standards, products must be tested and certified by an accredited independent third-party certification body. Certification ensures quality and performance is maintained over time.

SBD believes certification has been a significant contributory factor to a 64% fall in property crime in England and Wales between 1995-2014/15. In SBD’s 30th anniversary year, it is fitting to report that more than one million new homes have been built around the UK to SBD standards with reductions in crime of up to 87% every year compared to non-SBD developments. Over recent years, the security industry has boomed. Today, SBD has 800 member companies with 5,000 accredited products in 30 different crime categories including doors, windows, external storage, bicycle and motorcycle security, locks and hardware, asset marking, alarms, CCTV and many others.

Other established PCPI services – These include reducing the number of false alarm calls to police by one million every year since 1996 and assisting Chief Constables with the Community Safety Accreditation Scheme which allows them to delegate limited but targeted police powers to organisations already working in community safety roles.

Introducing new initiatives – Guy has moved quickly to expand and diversify PCPI with new initiatives that include a Police Crime Prevention Academy to run formally accredited and portable crime prevention and designing out crime qualifications for police forces and other organisations.
Another is PCPI’s Police Digital Security Centre which helps businesses protect themselves from cyber crime – one of the most rapidly evolving crime types. PCPI has also taken on the accreditation of Business Crime Reduction Partnerships based on standards set by the National Business Crime Centre to encourage police forces to share information with businesses, including retailers, to prevent crime. Many other initiatives are in the pipeline.

A glimpse into a 32-year police career – Born in the North East of England and having lived in the USA and Kenya, Guy joined the Metropolitan Police in 1982 and rose through the ranks to become a Detective Chief Superintendent. Career highlights include leading investigations into 50 murders and suspicious deaths in London and being the senior officer responsible for body recovery following the 1999 Paddington rail crash, which led to the deaths of 31 people. The resulting inquiry noted that the families of the bereaved asked for their thanks to be passed to police. Guy’s dedication and personal approach resulted in a commendation from the Metropolitan Police Commissioner. Guy returned on 5 October 2019 to attend the 20th anniversary memorial service. During his five years as Borough Commander in Sutton to his retirement in 2014, Guy helped the borough to become one of the safest in London and was awarded another Met Commissioner commendation – this time for dispersing rioters in Sutton Town Centre during the 2011 London Riots.

Distinctive management style – Wherever Guy has worked, he leads from the front and wins the support of the teams under his direction. His desire to ‘catch people out doing things right’ has led to an award scheme for staff. This is now a regular feature of SBD’s national ATLAS conference and exhibition in February – an annual event that brings together police officers specialising in crime prevention and SBD member companies. “I’m blessed with a team who go above and beyond every day,” he told us. “Together they have a vast amount of experience and want to make the UK a safer place.”