by Dave Shea, Senior National Development Officer

‘Community Safety’ sounds straightforward, doesn’t it? A pairing of two plain, familiar words – nothing fancy or jargoned – presenting a simple sum of one plus one. But peel back the cover and there are storied chapters of complexity, authored by citizens and practitioners – people with knowledge and experience – who speak to a deep, varied, overlapping, evolving story.

Ours is a field of work that can be hard to define. It lives in our homes and streets, our public places and spaces; it sparks debate in parliaments and pubs; it weighs on the balance of justice and conscience; and above all, it plays a critical role in how society protects itself from itself, and sees itself.

Community Safety is everywhere.

I’m sharing this rather opaque description to help illustrate the breadth and depth of a sector that includes road safety, water safety, home safety, crime and justice – and alternatives to punishment – public health, education, town planning, social care, mental health, problematic substance use, volunteering, the emergency services, and many more.

With this complexity comes challenge, like knowing who the best person is – in each of Scotland’s distinct thirty-two local authorities – to email or call; which specialism; what job title; which office; which department. Every Community Safety Partnership (CSP) is configured a little differently, each council is unique, and each Local Authority (LA) has its own bespoke, shifting priorities and demands. It’s a kaleidoscopic map that can be difficult to navigate.

The pandemic transformed that map. It accelerated change – and challenge – across the sector. Jobs merged, emerged and disappeared faster than they might have otherwise. New people came in and weel-kent faces moved on, exacerbated by new technology and the most significant change to working culture – working from home – seen in a generation. Understanding and charting this new, fast changing landscape becomes even more urgent.

That is the benefit of a strategic national network; a place that holds current knowledge, pro-actively finds and builds relationships, and encourages collaboration and sharing between regions, across borders. That’s what SCSN strives to do.

With this said, we have committed to re-establishing and renewing our links with every CSP and LA in Scotland. We recognise the value in this, particularly now, especially for our members and partners. And it’s also just pure dead nice to see folk.

We’re physically visiting or virtually meeting colleagues in every part of the country.

Our ‘Reconnect Roadshow’ is now underway.