Evening Times, 14 April 2008
Scotland was today urged to learn lessons from New York in the fight against crime.
A report by independent think tank Reform Scotland found there were only 148 officers on the beat across the country at any one time and there was more violent crime per head of population in Glasgow than in New York.
There were 731.39 violent incidents per 100,000 people in Glasgow during 2006-07, compared to 631.30 in New York.
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 US 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.
"New York City proves that an increasing crime rate isn\’t inevitable and the tide can be turned."
Tory justice spokesman Bill Aitken said the figures on the number of police on the beat showed that "the thin blue line has been stretched to breaking point".
The report, called Power For The Public, also looked at the provision of health, education and justice in Scotland, saying 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. Read the Evening Times article here.