The Scottish Community Safety Network’s ambition is that Community
Safety is valued and integrated across all relevant policy areas.
We are committed to working to achieve a fairer and more equal
It is abundantly clear that we have a Scottish General Election just around the corner, it will be a campaign like no other as hustings if they take place at all are likely to be virtual and public engagement is going to be extremely difficult and challenging. I really hope that this election campaign is not reduced to social media and the tabloid press as both platforms often shed more heat onto issues than any light or increased understanding.
Communities have many priorities and as I am writing up an interim community safety strategy for Camelon and Tamfourhill I am very conscious of an array of manifestos that are being published and all with the absolute and honourable intention of influencing the Political Parties in the run up to May’s election. In recent Blogs I have highlighted the Third Sector and their Manifesto for Change and the Walk Back Better from Paths for All and Ramblers Scotland both of immense local relevance. The manifesto of greatest importance however for community safety, and which will have a significant impact upon our local strategy, is the Scottish Community Safety Networks (SCSN) Manifesto for Safer Communities. Although our local strategy and priorities will be a community led plan and will represent the voice of local people, we also have to acknowledge the wider national context that we operate within and be aware of the central driving forces of the main partners that we will be working with in the coming months.
Let us consider the key features of the SCSN manifesto and clarify what this will mean locally for the communities of Camelon and Tamfourhill:
- Poverty: Within Camelon and Tamfourhill we have 3 areas within the 5% poorest of the Social Index of Multiple Deprivation in Scotland, that is unacceptable, and we know that inequality impacts upon our community’s health, life opportunities and performance at school. The manifesto states: The SCSN would like a commitment to a Universal Basic Income, thus ensuring people have more money in their pockets, Cross sector action on eradicating poverty and a continual dialogue about the harms caused by poverty.
- Community Safety: This is a biggie for the Our Place Camelon and Tamfourhill Community Safety Strategy: The SCSN believes that communities will be safer if there is more involvement of people in communities in the planning, delivery, and development of the services that they use, they go onto stress the fundamental importance of youth work and Community Learning & Development and an emphasise upon working together through creating local partnerships which keep communities safe. This then will be the guiding principle of our local community safety strategy, it will promote community development and the local ownership of new projects and initiatives, especially with young people and the development of new local youth work opportunities.
- Crime and Justice: There is a call for a system based on rehabilitation and more evidence-based approaches to reducing crime. Key recommendations include: a request to further raise the age of criminal responsibility, decreasing the prison population and increasing confidence in community justice, early interventions, and a topic I have raised in recent weeks: the decriminalisation of drug use. Locally this will be reflected through prioritising the development of new Recovery services and breaking down social barriers whilst reducing the stigmatisation for those who have been touched by the criminal justice system.
- Unintentional harm and Injury: An increased focus on Home Safety, delivering more safe and affordable housing, highlighting a commitment to making roads safer and in particular 20 mph speed limits in all built up areas and a strong belief in place-based approaches in built environments. Locally we will work towards lower traffic neighbourhoods and in this respect, we are already developing work with a local Parent Council to develop- and resource a local pocket places safer school streets project.
- Community resilience and Participation: We believe that communities that have a sense of belonging, connection and control are safer communities. The manifesto promotes a trauma informed approach, encourages a commitment to increasing community participation, including the expansion of participatory budgeting, or community choices as it is described by Falkirk Council. Our Place recently supported local people to make a submission to the Community choices programme as part of the wider; Tidy, Clean and Green campaign and in particular to further the development of local pop-up parks.
- And Finally: In concluding the manifesto refers to a world beyond COVID where there are new opportunities in a society with increased kindness & compassion, zero tolerance of hatred and an increased focus on Human Rights and the incorporation of the UNCRC across policy and practice.
This is the wider context that our local community safety strategy will be placed within, it will be a very much local affair but one that draws strength and clarity of purpose from these manifesto aspirations, a final thought, are our would-be MSP’s listening to these aspirations for a fairer and more equal Scotland?
The full manifesto can be found at: