Research Activities

Practitioner Fellowships

The Impact of Assets-based Community 'Listening Events' in two Scottish Locations

Chief Inspector Tony Bone Police Scotland

Personal profile of Tony Bone...

  • Partner University: University of the West of Scotland
  • Academic Supervisor: Professor Ross Deuchar
  • Position: Professor of Criminology and Criminal Justice

Research Context and Objectives:

The Scottish Government's new strategy for justice in Scotland highlights the need to promote information-sharing and partnership work and to empower local communities to prevent crime (Scottish Government, 2012). Taking account of the Christie (2011) report on the future delivery of public services, the Government strategy highlights the need for a 'decisive shift towards prevention' of crime. It also draws attention to the need for 'greater integration of public services at local level driven by better partnership, collaboration and effective local delivery' (Scottish Government, 2012: 13). Against this backdrop, the creation of the new single police service - Police Scotland - from 2013, ensures equal access to national and specialist services such as violence reduction teams under the force's new Licensing and Violence Reduction Division (LVRD). The single force now takes a consistent approach to nominal offender management through tasking, enforcement, intervention and prevention, and this approach is particularly pertinent within the context of youth violence. Senior managers in Police Scotland empower Divisional Commanders to make decisions about how best to intervene on and prevent local issues related to crime and violence. One new strategy is the implementation of community 'listening events' (Durieet al., 2004), where the LVRD support and empower local residents in high-crime areas to use their own skills and talents, working alongside service providers, to make the changes that they wish to see in their area. In doing so, the aim is to create flourishing communities, where crime is minimized and local people promote a renewed pride in local assets.

The focus of the proposed SIPR Fellowship is to enable one senior member of LVDR, Chief Inspector Tony Bone, to engage in a small piece of research that will enable him to explore and analyze the impact of the assets-based community 'listening events' on reducing youth violence, fostering social capital and enhancing the motivation and morale of local patrol and community officers. In so doing, the research will provide added benefit to the ongoing work of Police Scotland in terms of providing a small evidence-base that could be used as the basis for the further implementation of the community events in other neighbourhoods. In addition, it will help to inform future knowledge exchange with senior officers at the Scottish Police Collegevia their participation within a Masters-level module focused on improving police practice in terms of leading and managing violence reduction strategies and fostering local community relations.

The specific objectives will be as follows:

  • To explore the potential impact of 'listening events' in two specific communities - Ferguslie Park and Port Glasgow - in terms of the reduction of reported violent incidents among young people over a three month period.
  • To explore the extent to and ways in which the events build bonding and bridging social capital among local residents, young people and local police officers.
  • To examine the impact that the initiatives have on enhancing the motivation and morale of local patrol and community-based police officers in the targeted communities.

Planned Activities :

During the implementation of the 'listening events' in the two named communities, the applicant will set up focus groups with local participating residents, young people, police officers and service providers on three occasions - before, during and after the implementation of the series of events. During focus groups, interview questions will be designed to explore the impact of the sessions on building social capital - drawing upon the indicators outlined in previous research (Putnam, 2000; Leonard and Onyx, 2004; Deuchar, 2009). Local incidents of youth disorder and violence will be analyzed before and after the events, to identify any local impact, while additional follow-up interviews will be conducted with a small sample of local patrol and community-based officers in both communities as a means of exploring the impact of the initiative on their motivation and morale. Data will be analyzed iteratively throughout the duration of the Fellowship and under the guidance of Professor Deuchar. During the final weeks of the Fellowship, the candidate will write up the findings into an accessible report for Police Scotland. In the two months following the Fellowship period, Chief Inspector Bone will collaborate with Professor Deuchar on the writing of an academic article for the international peer-reviewed journal Policing and Society, as well as disseminating the insights from the research to senior officers during future delivery of the SCQF level 11 module Understanding and Preventing Youth Violence (coordinated by Deuchar) at the Scottish Police College in the winter of 2013/14.

Publications from the project:

The impact of assets-based community integration initiatives in Scottish and Danish locations. Annual Report for 2014, SIPR. See page 28.

Ross Deuchar, Thomas Friis Sogaard, Chris Holligan, Kate Miller, Anthony Bone & Lisa Borchardt (2018). Social capital in Scottish and Danish neighbourhoods: paradoxes of a police-community nexus at the front line. Journal of Scandinavian Studies in Criminology and Crime Prevention, DOI: 10.1080/14043858.2018.1448157