A local community safety project in Highlands, Safe Highlanders, has come runner up in a national award for excellence and innovation at the inaugural Scottish Government Safer Community Awards 2010.
The awards took place on Monday 13th September at the Thistle Hotel in Glasgow and were organised and run by the Scottish Government’s Community Safety Unit to recognise the important role of community safety projects in improving local communities and reducing crime across Scotland.
In order to reflect the broad scope and nature of different initiatives carried out across Scotland to improve community safety, submissions were invited in five separate categories and more than 70 entries were received from around the country.
Safe Highlanders Project, awarded in a Partnership Working Category, is an education activity based on a partnership approach, endeavouring to tackle the challenging issues of community safety, health and crime prevention. The Safe Highlanders Partnership includes representatives from The Highland Council, Northern Constabulary, Highlands and Islands Fire and Rescue Service, Maritime Coastguard Agency, Health and Safety Executive, British Red Cross, Institute of Safety and Health, British Transport Police, Inverness Drug and Alcohol Forum and Scottish and Southern Energy. This annual event introduces almost 2,500 Primary 7 school children in Highlands to a variety of potentially hazardous and life threatening situations, allowing them to participate in a range of simulated practical exercises. As a result children become more aware of personal safety, potentially they avoided becoming victims of crime, they know how to react to emergency situations and their chances of becoming good citizenship increase.
Commenting after receiving the award on behalf of the Safe Highlander Partnership, Cathie Way from Highlands & Islands Fire & Rescue Service said: “The Safe Highlander event has proven to be a huge success in our area and a particular thanks should go, not only to the organising committee and supporting agencies, but a huge pat on the back for the loyal band of committed volunteers who join the team on an annual basis to ensure its smooth running and assistance in escorting the young people around the safety learning sets.”
The Awards come after the most recent recorded crime figures have shown that levels of crime across Scotland have fallen to a 32 year low with 39,400 fewer crimes recorded than in 2008-09.
Hosted by the Minister for Community Safety, Fergus Ewing, the Awards not only gave everyone involved a chance to share in the success of the evening, but also provide an opportunity for community safety workers to forge new relationships and strengthen existing ones with practitioners from different areas of community safety.
Mr Ewing said: “The inaugural Community Safety Awards 2010 were a great success and I congratulate Safe Highlanders Partnership on their submission.
“The Scottish Government believes that everyone has the right to be safe and feel safe in their communities. That is why we are committed to creating and supporting safer and stronger communities where we live, work and play and in which we all take responsibility for our actions and how they affect others.
“The most recent figures show that community safety is improving across the country. For example, recorded crimes of vandalism fell by 15 per cent in the last year and overall recorded crime is now at a 32 year low.
“But more can be done and community safety practitioners, partnerships as well as a number of voluntary organisations and initiatives all play a vital and important role in achieving this goal.”