Cumbernauld citizens and organisations are being asked to consider and give feedback on a new five-year Draft Community Safety Strategy for North Lanarkshire that has been released by North Lanarkshire Community Safety Partnership.
A first version of Improving Community Safety in North Lanarkshire: A Strategy to Improve Lives 2020-25 has been published by North Lanarkshire Council on behalf of North Lanarkshire Partnership. Its purpose is to improve the quality of life for all local residents and ensure that areas are safe from crime, disorder and danger.
The publication outlines the five priority areas of effectively tackling antisocial behaviour, reducing serious violence and disorder, reducing harm from unintentional injury and fire, tackling gender-based violence and improving road safety. These objectives were identified following a strategic needs assessment of the key community safety issues in North Lanarkshire.
Police Scotland, Scottish Fire and Rescue Service, NHS Lanarkshire, Health and Social Care North Lanarkshire, North Lanarkshire Community Justice Partnership and wider communities were all key contributors to Strategy production. Councillor Angela Campbell, Chair of North Lanarkshire Community Safety Partnership, said:
“Improving community safety is a crucial priority for our communities, the Council and its partners, and our Strategy demonstrates our ongoing commitment to making a real difference to people’s lives in North Lanarkshire.
“The Strategy is grounded in a successful track record of strong partnership working and forward-thinking approaches to prevention as well as intervention to improve community safety.
“Our vision for community safety is aligned with our overarching ambition as set out in The Plan for North Lanarkshire; to make North Lanarkshire the place to live, learn, work, invest and visit.
“We have a collective ambition to increase prosperity, inclusiveness and outcomes for all. The Strategy also sets out how we’ll continue to measure the progress we’re making to deliver the targets set.”
A number of stakeholder events hosted prior to the coronavirus (COVID-19) lockdown were instrumental in shaping the content of the Strategy document. These incorporated consultation with, amongst others, tenants and residents associations, Community Councils, Community Matters Locality Partnerships, North Lanarkshire Youth Council and registered social landlords.
Anyone living or working in North Lanarkshire with an interest in community safety is being invited to read the Draft Strategy and provide their views and comments through completing an online survey by Thursday 1 October 2020.
Delivering on the priorities highlighted in the Strategy requires a range of organisations and communities working together, with Cornerstone House Centre well positioned to contribute within the Cumbernauld area. Mary McNeil, Development Manager at Cornerstone House Centre, commented:
“For the past decade, Cornerstone House Centre has been connected and committed to supporting community safety within Greater Cumbernauld.
“Our vision is of flourishing communities, healthier and happier people and a thriving Cumbernauld. Community safety is one of the underpinning themes upon which this vision is based.
“As such, we welcome the launch of the Draft Community Safety Strategy and are encouraged that its aims and principles strongly align with ours as a Community Anchor Organisation.
“To ensure that the final Strategy document addresses all community safety issues relevant to Cumbernauld, it is important that as many local people as possible view the draft and complete the online survey that has been created.
“This will enable the opinions of Cumbernauld citizens to be well represented within the spectrum of community safety indicators and actions contained within the Strategy.”
The unveiling of the Draft Community Safety Strategy comes just weeks after Crimestoppers revealed that they had received a record number of calls in Scotland concerning community safety since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic.
During lockdown, contact to the crime-fighting charity about domestic abuse surged by 80%, whilst reports of doorstep crime increased by almost one third. Moreover, the volume of calls relating to drug dealing was 40% greater than usual and the number of people sharing concerns about possible child abuse or neglect also rose. Ash Denham, Scottish Government’s Minister for Community Safety, remarked:
“The Scottish Government is committed to ensuring communities remain safe and resilient as we emerge from these unprecedented times.
“Significant, actionable information about child harm and neglect, drugs and violent crimes from all over the country was passed to Police Scotland thanks to public reporting during lockdown.
“This is a remarkable achievement and the courage, community spirit and kindness shown by those reporting is inspiring.”
In 2018-19, North Lanarkshire had 524 recorded crimes per 10,000 population, which was higher than the Scottish average of 453. This ranked it fifth (out of 32) in the list of local authorities with most crimes per head of population.
More positively, the number of crimes recorded in North Lanarkshire decreased by 24% from 2009 to 2019. This can largely be attributed to the approach of North Lanarkshire Community Safety Partnership, which has successfully designed and delivered upon interventions to reduce disorder, antisocial behaviour, violence and abuse in communities during this period.
Meanwhile, North Lanarkshire Council’s recent announcement of The Place The Vision programme bodes well for improved community safety in the local area over coming years.
This includes an ambitious Vision for Cumbernauld which designates a framework for modernising and redesigning the town’s facilities, transport networks and carbon footprint by 2030.