First New York Police and now Canada’s police come to learn from Scotland’s successes in tackling violence


Back in February 2016, the Independent had this headline:

‘Scottish police advise US officers on alternatives to shooting unarmed people.’

US cops killing civilians at a disgraceful level had been all over the UK media for more than a year. Sky News had a feature on it repeated throughout the day (1st Feb). A team of New York police officers came to Glasgow to watch our police handle dangerous individuals without shooting them dead at the first move. The training had finished with a conference on Friday 29th January. Virtually every major UK and Scottish newspaper reported. It was all over international media and alternative media. BBC Scotland did not cover it. A link to the Sky report is below. Now schemes developed in Glasgow which are credited with, in part, the halving of serious violence in just three years are to be used in Canada. 10% of policing budgets in Canadian cities is to be diverted to prevention and spent on schemes developed in Glasgow and then used throughout Scotland, by the Violence Reduction Unit.

The schemes include working with gangs, reducing knife carrying and trying to find ways of diverting youth from violent behaviour while they are young enough to be more open to influence.

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Scottish News Media Conceal Global Status of Police Scotland’s Methods

5 thoughts on “First New York Police and now Canada’s police come to learn from Scotland’s successes in tackling violence

  1. David Howdle October 25, 2017 / 10:55 am

    There’s a surprise. I’m a retired Procurator Fiscal. We were frequently told that we needed to learn from US ways such as New York’s zero tolerance agenda. Needless to say, US ways don’t always flit smoothly across the Atlantic.


  2. Alasdair Macdonald October 25, 2017 / 11:30 am

    Generally, Violence Reduction Unit members feel they have reasonably good relations with the media. Partly, I think this means that it is not subject to the persistent drip-drip of ‘bad’ stories. And, given the negative attitude in much of the media – and not just Scotland – this, in itself is a step in the right direction. The other side is that ‘good’ stories do not get the kind of publicity that they ought to. Sometimes, when a ‘good’ story is published, it is often ‘smeared’ with some doubts.

    Although it is not about the same programme as Violence Reduction, it comes from the same philosophical approach, the Throughcare project has had significant success in the prevention of reoffending. The headline on GMS was about the success, but the subsequent interview was pretty hostile and sneering in tone focussing on ‘reactionary’ issues. The interview ended with a question about reports in the Daily Record about prisoners posting nude photos on the internet.

    The report is not on the main Scotland page on the BBC website – it leads with a murder committed by a prisoner on parole – but on the Glasgow and West of Scotland page. The John Beattie programme had an extended item which covered the topic pretty thoroughly but utilised as one of the two main participants a prison reformer based in England, who, though making a good case, was clearly not well-informed about Scotland and quoted figures relating to England and Wales. This meant that ‘bad’ statistics were admitted to the feature – the Scottish Prison Service was being tarred by data from England. One of the participants pointed this out, but the picture had been clouded.


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