Significant fall in serious violence in England and Wales

April 25, 2005

There has been a significant fall in serious violence in England (13%) and Wales (20%) over the last five years, according to a major study into trends in serious violence by Cardiff University.

The research led by the University's Violence Research Group analysed figures for assault related injuries from a representative sample of 32 major Accident and Emergency departments in England and Wales. The study also looked at the effectiveness of CCTV surveillance in preventing violence, and the reliability of police statistics as a measure of violent crime.

The study found that an estimated 25,700 fewer people attended major Accident and Emergency departments after violence-related injury in England in 2004 compared with 2000 and 2,800 fewer in Wales. The greatest decreases in England and Wales were observed in 2004.

Professor Jonathan Shepherd, Director of the Violence Research Group at Cardiff University and a consultant face and jaw surgeon said: "Prevention of violence-related injury is a major public health priority. These results represent a clear reduction in harm across all age groups and both genders."

The installation of city centre CCTV was followed by an increase in police detection of violence and disorder, and a decrease in serious violence, according to injury data.

Professor Shepherd said: "These findings indicate that police statistics are not a reliable measure of violence. Effectiveness of CCTV probably lies less in preventing assaults and their precursors, but more in preventing injury through detection and rapid intervention by the police thereby reducing burdens on A&E departments."
-end-


Cardiff University

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