Justice and Safety

Helping Scotland to Build Safer Communities

June 12, 2015 by No Comments | Category Communities

The Building Safer Communities Programme has big aspirations.

We’re aiming to reduce the number of victims of crime in Scotland by 250,000 by 2017-18. It’s a really stretching goal, double what we can expect to achieve if we don’t try something new, something transformational.

We’re also aiming to reduce the harm caused by unintentional injuries. As a first step we’re producing the first national strategic assessment of accident data, to help us identify where the greatest opportunities for preventing such harm lie.

Our vision for communities in 2020 describes what these aspirations look like in practice. It doesn’t focus on the problems to be tackled or on addressing crime and injury.

Instead it talks about wellbeing and paints a picture of the sort of community we want everyone in Scotland to enjoy. We’re encouraging individual communities to improve this vision or re-write it to describe their own aspirations.

Achieving our ambitious aims will require a wholesale shift towards prevention and a collective focus on empowering communities.

Our evidence tells us that in communities that are cohesive people are less likely to commit and experience crime but we must support communities to build their capacity and resilience in ways which work for them.

That’s why we purposely hold our Building Safer Communities Board meetings in communities across Scotland; we want to learn from people and involve them in this work.

We’ve heard from some incredibly inspirational people about the positive changes their communities are making and about how we can support them and help spread their success.

For example,

  • we’ve been along to the community breakfast in Possilpark which brings together over 50 local agencies and members of the community each month to share ideas;
  • we’ve visited a social enterprise in Alloa where a shared love of arts and crafts and an entrepreneurial spirit brings people together in a supportive environment, helping to build their self-esteem; and
  • we’ve spoken to inmates and staff at Polmont Young Offenders Institution about their peer mentoring work, their superb new education facilities and the importance they attach to supporting inmates to deal with bereavement. I was delighted to read about the impact they’re having in the Herald this week.

The Minister for Community Safety and Legal Affairs, Paul Wheelhouse, has also spent time with the communities of Hawkhill, Muirhouse, Possilpark and Leith, seeing first-hand how Inspiring Scotland’s Link Up initiative is supporting communities to take the lead in improving their neighbourhoods and their own wellbeing. Inspiring Scotland

Our Board next meets on the 25 June at the Tannahill Community Centre in Ferguslie Park, Paisley.

Before the meeting we’ll be visiting KibbleWorks, to hear about the work they do to support young people into employment.

We’re determined to avoid the mistakes of the past; it’s not about what we think communities need but about helping local people set their own direction in order to fulfil their potential.

If you or your organisation is working to build on the strengths within your community, working to design and deliver services ‘with’ local people rather than ‘to’ them, then you are already building safer communities.

We’d love to hear from you, to learn from what you’re doing and to share it with others.


Paul Johnston
You can find out more about Building Safer Communities by:
 visiting our website – www.buildingsafercommunities.scot
 following us on Twitter – @theBSCprogramme (twitter.com/thebscprogramme)
 reading our blog – www.buildingsafercommunities.scot/blog

Further reading


Inspiring Scotland’s Link up initiative

Building Safer Communities Programme: 2020 vision (www.buildingsafercommunities.scot/uploads/1/9/0/5/19054171/2020_vision_-_feb_2015.pdf)

What Works to Reduce Crime: A Summary of the Evidence

Glasgow Herald article on young offenders

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