What's been happening?
New First Minister and Ministerial Team. Nicola Sturgen MSP was formally sworn in as First Minister on 20 November and subsequently announced her new Cabinet and Ministerial team. Michael Matheson MSP is the new Cabinet Secretary for Justice, with Paul Wheelhouse MSP the new Minister for Community Safety and Legal Affairs.
Recorded Crime Statistics published showing crime at 40 year low. In 2013-14 crime reduced by 1% on the previous year and are now at the lowest level since 1974. Violent crime is down 10% in 2013-14, crimes of handling an offensive weapon are down 5%, the clear up rate is the highest since records began but sexual crimes are up 12% (Police Scotland estimate half of this increase is due a rise in reporting of historic crimes).
Programme for Government announced. This sets out the legislation for the coming year, as well as summarising the Scottish Government’s key achievements and main goals for the future. It includes commitments for a community justice bill and an empowering communities fund.
The Building Safer Communities Board met for the 6th time on 4 November. The Board agreed a new programme narrative which describes what the programme is all about and each Board member agreed to take on a ‘champion’ role for specific locations and themes.
The Reassuring the Public Board met for the last time on 25 November. The Board heard presentations from SCDC and Young Scot and considered a draft report and recommendations for how to implement the findings from all of the research undertaken for the programme. Once finalised these will be submitted to the Justice Board in February and published shortly thereafter.
ESRC event on the changing nature of crime in Scotland held on 4 November. An expert panel presented research on the crime drop in Scotland and the changing profile of victims and offenders.
Staff changes in the Building Safer Communities Team. Lorna Ascroft has now left to take up a new role in self-directed care and we welcome Gery McLaughlin as the new Deputy Head of the Community Safety Unit and lead for the programme. Gery previously headed up the Scottish Government team that led on antisocial behaviour, CCTV and sectarianism.
What's coming up?
Police Scotland, Youthlink and Young Scot establish new youth volunteers groups in the Building Safer Communities areas. These groups seek to improve the relationship between young people (13-18 year olds) and the police in Scotland, by increasing the opportunities for positive dialogue, and to inspire the young people to participate positively in their communities.
Evaluation framework contract to be launched in December. Local partners can submit bids for evaluation support across all aspects of community safety work to the Scottish Government’s Community Safety Unit.
Scottish Community Safety Network training on preventative spend cost benefit analysis. This is being held on 9 December.
Next National Team and Board meetings. The Building Safer Communities National Team will meet in December to discuss how to support the programme’s champions in their roles and the Board itself next gets together on 4 February.
Programme ambassadors. We will be approaching inspirational and talented people to ask them to be programme ambassadors and act as role models and mentors for those facing difficult times in communities across Scotland.
Building Safer Communities website to be re-launched. We’re working hard behind the scenes on a shiny new website which we hope to unveil before Christmas. Watch this space!
This is where you'll find the latest news and views from the BSC programme and guest blogs from those involved in making Scotland safer and stronger.