Page last updated at 23:12 GMT, Sunday, 13 April 2008 00:12 UK

Crime in Glasgow 'worse than NY'

Police on patrol
The report says Scottish police could learn from New York

Glasgow could learn lessons from New York about how to tackle crime, according to a report by an independent think tank.

The Reform Scotland report said there was now more violent crime per head of population in Glasgow than in New York.

It said crime figures from 2006-07 showed for every 100,000 people there were 731.39 incidents in Glasgow compared to 631.30 in New York.

It suggests following a zero tolerance policy like the American city.

The report told how New York had introduced a more accountable and transparent police service, combined with a zero tolerance approach to policing and it said that crime in the American city fell by 67% between 1993 and 2004.

The report stated: "The broad principles behind the reforms in New York City still offer a number of lessons for Scotland."

It added: "The best example of a change in policing structures leading to a dramatic fall in crime is the experience of New York City over the past 20 years.

"New York City proves that an increasing crime rate isn't inevitable and the tide can be turned."

Tory justice spokesman Bill Aitken said that "the thin blue line has been stretched to breaking point".

He added that was why his party had pushed for provisions for 1,000 extra police officers to be included in the Scottish budget and added: "The next task is to get as many of our police as possible out in our communities, deterring crime, catching criminals and reassuring the public."

Public services

The report, called Power For The Public, examined the provision of health, education and justice in Scotland.

It said the budgets for these three areas had grown by 55%, 87% and 44% respectively over the last decade, but added this had produced "mixed results".

The report said in general improvements to public services had not matched those seen in other countries, despite increases in spending in Scotland. And it said: "Therefore we need to look at how we can reform these services."

Reform Scotland called for public services to be more directly accountable to people and local communities.

Ben Thomson, chairman of Reform Scotland, said: "The challenge for Scotland is clear. In common with our economic growth rate, the performance of our main public services trails that of many comparable countries.

"If we aspire to have public services which match those of other countries then we need to be open to new ideas.

"Other countries have found better ways of providing public services, whilst guaranteeing universal access regardless of ability to pay.

"We need to learn these lessons and apply those that are appropriate. That will ensure that people in Scotland receive the services they have a right to expect and that our public services are truly the envy of the world."

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