How Karyn McCluskey changed a city

Former nurse and policewoman Karyn McCluskey set up the Scottish Violence Reduction Unit in 2005 to tackle violent crime in Glasgow, then the murder capital of western Europe. MT hears her story.

by Stephen Jones

It was The Guardian that gave Karyn McCluskey the moniker of 'the woman who took on Glasgow’s gangs'. ‘There was this idea that I'm a gang buster. And that reputation stuck,' she says. 'Actually, I spend more time doing early years, supporting parents and kids.’

But her impact in reducing violent crime in Glasgow – a city the United Nations previously dubbed as one of Europe’s most violent cities – should not be underplayed.

Born in Falkirk, McCluskey says she had a ‘strange background’ before going into policing. She is a qualified nurse, trained as a forensic psychologist and had 'loads of other failed careers’.

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