The Strategy for Justice in Scotland: Evidence Paper

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4 The Geography of Justice in Scotland

Justice outcomes are uneven across Scotland. There is a clear link between poor justice outcomes and weak performance against other socio-economic outcomes. Justice problems tend to coalesce around particular individuals and households, and those individuals and households tend to concentrate in particular localities.

Often the people experiencing the poorest justice and community safety outcomes will themselves be multiply deprived and/or will live in communities experiencing multiple deprivation. Table 4 below illustrates how poor justice outcomes, and the underlying factors associated with them, are concentrated in areas of multiple deprivation.

Table 4: Geographical Inequality - Datazone Comparisons from the 2009 SIMD[136]

Most Deprived
datazones*
Least Deprived
datazones*
Scotland Average
School exclusion rate per 1,000 pupils 100 13 50
Percentage of school leavers entering a "positive" destination 78.9% 93.2% 86.8%
Secondary School Attendance Rates 86.2% 94.9% 91.2%
Percentage of 16-19 not in employment, education or training 26.6% 11.3% 13.7%
Percentage of population with no qualifications 27.2% 9.7% 12.4%
"SIMD Crime" rate per 10,000 Population 1,026 405 495
Rate of Prisoners per 100,000 Population 692 140 218
Unemployment Rate 15.7% 6.5% 7.7%
People who are economically inactive due to sickness as a percentage of all economically inactive 49.0% 25.7% 30.8%
Percentage in Employment, Education or Training 61.2% 79.5% 76.7%
Percentage of 25-59/64 in employment who are graduates 11.4% 28.3% 26.5%
Life expectancy at birth - males 67.1 80.2 74.6
Life expectancy at birth - females 75 83.6 79.6
Percentage of households living in Social Housing 57.9% 17.2% 23.5%
Alcohol-related hospital discharges: European Age Standardised Rate (EASR) per 100,000 population (2010-11)[137] 1,608 212 695

* For life expectancy the comparison is 10% most deprived v other 90%, for exclusion and alcohol-related hospital discharges it is the 20% most deprived v other 80%, for attendance and NEET it is 10% most deprived v the 10% least deprived and for all others it is 15% most deprived v other 85%

The scatterplot in Chart 26 uses 2009 data to compare the overall Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation (SIMD) rank for each datazone (i.e. local area) against the crime element of SIMD data for each datazone. In the SIMD, each datazone is given a rank between 1 and 6,506, with 1 indicating the most deprived datazone and 6,506 the least deprived. Chart 26 therefore shows that datazones with a low (i.e. positive) rank on the crime element tend to have a low rank on the overall SIMD, indicating that areas of higher deprivation tend to have higher levels of crime and vice versa.

Chart 26: Comparison of crime element of SIMD against overall SIMD[138]

Chart 26: Comparison of crime element of SIMD against overall SIMD

These results show clearly that poor outcomes tend to coalesce in multiply deprived communities. This underlines the importance of holistic approaches in seeking to address poor justice outcomes, tackling inequality and in pursuing improved socio-economic outcomes generally.

In particular, interventions to improve early years outcomes are key. Evidence has demonstrated that the lack of development in certain life skills such as self control and empathy at an early age is strongly associated with a higher tendency to offend in later life. Poor educational attainment and exclusion from school are also associated with a greater propensity to offend. The relative poverty of the community in which a young person lives is an important predictor of the likelihood of that person offending.[139]

This evidence supports the key recommendations of the Christie Commission report, which argues for focusing public investment and activity on prevention, in particular holistic interventions in areas of multiple deprivation, in order to enhance outcomes and reduce inequalities.[140]

In a justice context this preventative approach translates into tackling the root causes of crime. It also involves holistic approaches addressing key factors associated with poor community safety outcomes, such as high incidence of problematic drug and alcohol use.

Tackling spatial inequality is essential to improving justice outcomes, both for the most affected communities themselves and thereby for the nation as a whole.

The following diagrams demonstrate graphically the disparity of justice outcomes across Scotland.

The proportion of each local authority’s datazones that are in the 15% most deprived datazones in Scotland on the crime domain of the 2009 SIMD varies considerably by local authority. Chart 27 shows that in West Dunbartonshire and Glasgow City over a quarter of all datazones are in the 15% most deprived datazones across Scotland, while in East Dunbartonshire, Orkney Islands, East Renfrewshire and Aberdeenshire less than 5% of datazones are similarly deprived.[141]

Chart 27: Percentage of datazones in the 15% most deprived on the Crime domain, by local authority

Chart 27: Percentage of datazones in the 15% most deprived on the Crime domain, by local authority

The maps of Glasgow in Figure 3 and Edinburgh in Figure 4 below show the variation in the level of crime across the two cities and the surrounding areas. The darker shades indicate areas with higher levels of crimes (many corresponding to the more deprived areas). For example, when datazones are ranked according the level of crime, those shaded darkest (in the 0-20% groups on the maps) are datazones that rank in the top 20% by amount of crime.[142]

Figure 3: 2009 SIMD Crime Domain, by quintiles, Glasgow and surrounding area

Figure 3: 2009 SIMD Crime Domain, by quintiles, Glasgow and surrounding area

Figure 4: 2009 SIMD Crime Domain, by quintiles, Edinburgh and surrounding area

Figure 4: 2009 SIMD Crime Domain, by quintiles, Edinburgh and surrounding area

The 2009 SIMD data also shows that young people who live in areas with higher crime levels are less likely to end up in education, employment or training, as shown by Chart 28 below. The chart splits datazones into 5 quintiles, with, for example ‘0-20%’ containing the datazones with the most crime. The box for each quintile shows the spread of results (percentage not in education, employment of training) for the middle 50% of datazones, while the lines adjoining each box for the quintiles show the maximum results for a single datazone within the quintile.

Chart 28: Percentage of 16-19 year olds not in education, employment or training, by SIMD crime domain quintile (0%-20% - most deprived)[143]

Chart 28: Percentage of 16-19 year olds not in education, employment or training, by SIMD crime domain quintile (0%-20% - most deprived)

Perception of local neighbourhood

There is a clear pattern in people’s ratings of neighbourhoods between urban and rural areas. For example, people in remote rural areas are the most likely to rate their neighbourhood as a very good place to live (78%). In contrast, the percentage of people living in urban areas and towns rating their neighbourhood as a 'very good' place to live ranges between 49% and 61%.

The level of deprivation in an area has an impact on how neighbourhoods are rated, with the proportion rating their neighbourhood as very good increasing significantly as deprivation declines. Of those living in the 10% most deprived areas of Scotland, 25% rate their neighbourhood as a very good place to live, compared to 78% of those living in the 10% least deprived areas, as shown in Chart 29 below.[144]

Chart 29: Rating of neighbourhood as a place to live, 2010, by SIMD

Chart 29: Rating of neighbourhood as a place to live, 2010, by SIMD

The Scottish Household Survey data suggest that perceptions of the prevalence of anti-social behaviours increase as areas become more deprived. Aside from litter, the biggest contrast in perceptions of prevalence between the most and least deprived areas are seen in drug misuse or dealing (31% in the 10% most deprived areas compared to 1% in the 10% least deprived areas) and rowdy behaviour (35% compared to 6%).

By way of example, the figures below map two types of justice data by local authorities.

Figure 5: Number of crimes recorded by the police per 10,000 population, by council area, 2010-11[145]

Figure 5: Number of crimes recorded by the police per 10,000 population, by council area, 2010-11

1. The darker the shade the higher the number of crimes recorded per 10,000 population.

Figure 5 shows that, in general, more crimes are recorded in urban areas. The number of recorded crimes per 10,000 population ranged from 963 in Glasgow City and 864 in Aberdeen City, to 288 in Eilean Siar and 224 in Orkney.

Figure 6: Scottish Local Authority ranking of dwelling fires per 100,000 population, 2010-11

Figure 6: Scottish Local Authority ranking of dwelling fires per 100,000 population, 2010-11

1. The darker the shade the higher the rate of dwelling fires.

The number of dwelling fires per 100,000 population ranged from 230 in Dundee City and 198 in Glasgow City, to 54 in Eilean Siar and 45 in the Shetlands Islands.