Building Safer Communities

Funding body and duration

Funded by the Economic & Social Research Council, the Scottish Funding Council and The Local Authority Research Council Initiative, in association with the Scottish Community Safety Network (SCSN), this 1-year project commenced in November 2009.

Principal Investigators


The overarching aim of the package of activities described in this proposal is to use knowledge exchange as a vehicle for evidence-based improvements in community safety interventions. The evidence-base available to SCSN would be significantly enhanced via the combination of the synthesis of existing research and the development of materials ('practice notes' etc.) for the SCSN website. Together these would create an accessible resource that would have both a strategic value (in terms of identifying approaches to community safety which look promising in terms of their effectiveness) and be of operational relevance (by promoting knowledge exchange among practitioners in the form of 'practice notes' that identify the strengths, weaknesses and challenges associated with community safety interventions). This package of activities will also promote critical reflection on the partnership process itself, and how the problems and tensions inherent within partnership working can be more effectively and productively managed. The placements are specifically focused on developing the analytical skills of community safety practitioners and aim to serve as 'demonstration projects' that would encourage further partnerships to develop between the practitioner and academic communities.

The strategic objective most relevant to this package of activity relates to creation of a safer and stronger Scotland, which intersects with three national outcomes relating to crime, communities and sustainable places. Given that community safety embraces a much wider agenda than just crime reduction so as to include public safety, health, accident prevention and reduction, social inclusion and citizenship, it clearly has a central role to play in trying to make Scotland a safe and stronger place.

By promoting the exchange of knowledge around 'what works, why and where' in terms of community safety interventions, developing the skills and capacity of community safety practitioners to carry out rigorous and robust evaluations of initiatives, and by increasing understanding of what makes for effective partnership working, the package of activities will contribute to the implementation of more effective crime prevention and harm reduction measures by local authorities. It has also long been recognised that community safety has a vital role in the development of socially cohesive, tolerant and resilient communities. The package of activities described in this proposal would all contribute to the dissemination of good practice and enhanced professional development of community safety practitioners, which in turn will enhance the role played by community safety in improving the quality of life within communities. Reductions in fear, levels of victimization and enhanced public safety are also vital to making neighbourhoods attractive locations in which to live and thus contribute to the making of sustainable places. Given that the overarching aim of the package of activities described in this proposal is to use knowledge exchange as a vehicle for evidence-based improvements in community safety interventions, the expectation is that the outcome of the initiatives described here would be enhanced sustainability and resilience of communities.

Outputs from the research

Links to project reports and other publications will be added here in due course.

Jon Bannister

Jon Bannister

Alistair Henry

Dr Alistair Henry

Nick Fyfe

Professor Nicholas Fyfe