Carol Craig is the Centre's Chief Executive. She is author of The Scots' Crisis of Confidence, Creating Confidence: A Handbook for Professionals Working with Young People, The Tears that Made the Clyde: Well-being in Glasgow and The Great Takeover: How materialism, the media and markets now dominate our lives. She is Commissioning editor for the Postcards from Scotland series. Carol blogs on confidence, well-being, inequality, every day life and some of the great challenges of our time. The views she expresses are her own unless she specifically states that they reflect the Centre's thinking.
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I have been consistently impressed by the work of Scotland's Violence Reduction Unit. Indeed I was go so far as to say that they are leading innovative thinking in Scotland. For example, they see Scotland's gang and violence problem not as a policing issue but as a public health problem. Chief Superintendent John Carnochan argues that it will be helped, not by more police on the streets, but by more health visitors and initiatives to support families and child development. A couple of years ago, the VRU also led a major initiative on gang violence in Glasgow which has delivered significant reductions in crimes and injuries.
They have also been involved with a community in the Kilmarnock area called Onthank. In 2010 it achieved notoriety as it was the location for the infamous BBC Scotland reality TV series, The Scheme. Many thought it unfair and the series was frequently referred to as 'poverty porn'.
Given that people in the area were feeling low and defensive at what many thought a selective and one-sided portrayal of the estate, the Violence Reduction Unit and various other organisations chose Onthank for a pilot project which aimed to reduce crime and improve health by working in a productive, assets-based way with the community. Chief Inspector Tony Bone was one of the main folk involved in getting the project off the ground and he has now written it up in a case study for Governance International. It is well-worth reading as it shows what can be done when projects are founded on trust, respect and appreciation of what people have to offer.