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  1. ITV Report

Cardiff celebrates 20 years of violence reduction

Photo: ITV Cymru/Wales

From London to Australia, a novel crime prevention model, first piloted in Cardiff, is being replicated around the world as it celebrates its 20th anniversary.

Based on data sharing between hospitals, police and local authorities, the Cardiff Model has seen a significant reduction in violent crime in the Cardiff area over the last 20 years. It was pioneered by Professor Jonathan Shepherd, Director of Cardiff University’s Violence Research Group, after he discovered that three-quarters of incidents which result in hospital emergency department (ED) treatment are not known to police.

There were people on my operating table every week, injured by someone who was never brought to book. It was a real shock to discover that large numbers of violent offences were not known to the police.

The Cardiff Model has made a real difference in Cardiff. A&E data shows a 60 percent drop in violence-related A&E attendance since 2002, from 80 patients per week to 30. Cumulatively this is 65,000 fewer A&E attendances and 950 fewer hospital admissions resulting from violence over the 14 years. This has made a saving of over £5m per year in Cardiff’s health, social and criminal justice costs.

– Prof. Jonathan Shepherd, Director of Cardiff University’s Violence Research Group

Still being implemented across Cardiff, where violence-related injuries continue to fall, the Cardiff Model has also been adopted in other cities around the world, in countries such as Netherlands, United States, Australia and South Africa.

When it was piloted 20 years ago, the Cardiff Model was an entirely new way of preventing violence, in which data from hospitals is shared with the police and local authorities. Receptionists at EDs record the precise location and weapon used from people injured in violence, and this information is anonymised and combined with police data to inform violence prevention strategy and tactics.

This is a real Cardiff success story. Our city centre really is a safer place as a result of the work that we are celebrating today and it’s something we need to shout from the rooftops. I pay tribute to the pioneering insights of Professor Jonathan Shepherd in understanding the need for the same clinical precision that he brought to his work as a surgeon to the way we understand and then tackle some of the ills in our society.

The Cardiff Model continues to be the cornerstone of our approach to reducing violent crime, although more needs to be done to apply the approach consistently across Wales and across the UK in order to protect the public and reduce pressure on public services

– Alun Michael, South Wales Police & Crime Commissioner