AFTER eight decades of struggling to shake off the "No Mean City" tag, a global survey of leading cities has ranked Glasgow the best in the UK for personal safety.

According to the list of 221 cities, Glasgow and Aberdeen have come joint 44th for safety, higher than Birmingham, Belfast and London, with the ranking based on crime levels, law enforcement effectiveness, internal stability and the host country’s international relations

And although no Scottish city has made the top 50 overall, both Glasgow and Aberdeen rate higher than Los Angeles and Miami for standard of living, at numbers 56 and 54.

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At 38, London is the highest-ranking UK city followed by Birmingham, at 52, and Belfast at 63.

Vienna has the best living standard in the world, according to the Mercer 2011 Quality of Living Survey. Zurich and Auckland follow in second and third, and Munich is in fourth with Düsseldorf and Vancouver sharing fifth place. Frankfurt is in seventh, followed by Geneva eighth, while Copenhagen and Bern share ninth place.

Luxembourg tops the personal safety ranking, followed by Bern, Helsinki and Zurich, all ranked jointly at number two. Vienna ranks fifth, while Geneva and Stockholm both rank sixth. Canadian cities also dominate the higher end of the personal safety ranking.

Baghdad is rated the world’s least safe city, followed by N’Djamena, Chad (220), Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire (219), Bangui, Central African Republic (218), and Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of the Congo (217).

Milan Taylor, head of Mercer’s data and product services in the UK and Ireland, said: “All UK cities rank fairly high for personal safety. The UK’s good international relations and stable internal political situation allow for a relatively secure environment for expatriates. When compared internationally, law enforcement in the UK is efficient and crime levels are relatively low.

“Within the UK, London rates below its counterparts mainly due to higher crime levels -- something that is a commonplace among many of the larger European cities.”

Slagin Parakatil, senior researcher at Mercer, added: “Most of the low-scoring cities are in countries with civil unrest and little law enforcement.”

The consulting firm carries out the study every year to help governments and companies compensate employees fairly when sending them on international assignments. The rankings are based on a point-scoring index against New York as the base city, with a score of 100.

Mercer’s Quality of Living reports evaluate local living conditions in all the 420 cities it surveys worldwide. It analyses them according to 10 categories including the political and social environment; the economy; the sociocultural environment such as censorship and limitations on personal freedom; health and sanitation; schools and education; public services and transportation; recreation; availability of consumer goods; housing; and the natural environment.

Glasgow City Council leader Gordon Matheson said: “I’m pleased the survey has recognised this is a vibrant and exciting city with lots to offer -- including a great deal of warmth, energy and enthusiasm.”

Aberdeen City Council director of enterprise, Gordon McIntosh, said: “To be placed in the top 100 of this survey is a great accolade for any city so to be placed at number 54 is hugely encouraging given the challenges we face in keeping our infrastructure competitive.”

But one academic has dismissed the reports’ personal safety findings. Criminologist Jon Bannister, from the Scottish Centre for Crime and Justice Research, said: “It doesn’t define any of its terms and while its correct that UK crime levels are relatively low, without including a list of indicators the report is meaningless.”