Safer communities

In this strand, we aim to describe and understand the factors that influence community safety and wellbeing. This includes studying problems and inequalities caused by drug use, alcohol consumption, mental health and violence. 

Our research also looks at patterns of demand for public services to support and promote safer communities, including health, justice and emergency services. A key focus of our research is how community safety can be promoted by improving connections between public health and law enforcement.

Lead: Professor Susan McVie, University of Edinburgh

There is an increasing recognition that community safety is not just a matter for the criminal justice system, but requires a collaborative approach that includes other sectors, especially health. 

Problems within communities that arise as a result of drug and alcohol misuse, mental health conditions and violence cannot be resolved through policing alone, and Scotland has been at the forefront of identifying and delivering a range of public health approaches to reduce crime and disorder within communities.  Our research seeks to explore factors that impact on community safety and wellbeing and identify ways to improve and influence service planning, delivery and, in the longer term, infrastructure development.  Evidence will be generated that responds to several areas of policy and practice, in particular concern over vulnerable groups, mental health & wellbeing, violence, substance use, poverty and inequality.

We are working closely with stakeholders in health, crime and justice to raise awareness and reframe research agendas for administrative data in this area.

We have held a range of engagement events such as our workshop ‘Driving forward data informed approaches to policing’ and Professor Betsy Stanko's seminar ‘Using criminology, police data and a lot of nouse’. 

We are also engaging with policymakers and practitioners around policing of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Our recent case study explains the benefits of collaborative work on policing data in Scotland.

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