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Drop in serious violence could be down to alcohol prices

Evidence from a leading Welsh research group shows we could be slowly winning the battle against drunken violence on our streets.

The study shows the number of people injured has fallen for the sixth year in a row. Experts believe rising alcohol prices could be part of the reason, as Dean Thomas reports.

A drop in serious crime: We want your views

A Cardiff University study says the number of people in Wales and England injured in serious violence last year dropped by over 10%.

It also says those most likely to be injured are aged between 18 and 30.

The study suggests that reason for the fall could be a reduction in binge drinking.

We want your views on this. Do you think there's been a reduction in serious crime, and why do you think this could be?

You can get in touch in the following ways:

  • Email: wales@itv.com
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  • Twitter: @itvwales

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Alcohol price rise linked to drop in violence

An increase in alcohol prices is partly responsible for a reduction in binge drinking and serious violence for the sixth consecutive year, a study has claimed.

The number of people injured in serious violence dropped by 12% in 2013 compared to 2012, with more than 32,000 fewer people treated for injuries relating to violence in England and Wales, a Cardiff University report found.

Lead author of the study and Director of the Violence and Society Research Group at Cardiff University said a change in alcohol habits since 2008 could be one reason for the continued reduction.

Binge drinking has become less frequent, and the proportion of youths who don't drink alcohol at all has risen sharply. Also, after decades in which alcohol has become more affordable, since 2008 it has become less affordable.

For people most prone to involvement in violence, those aged 18-30, falls in disposable income are probably an important factor.

– Professor Jonathan Shepherd, Cardiff University

Serious violence drops by 12% in Wales and England

Serious violence affecting all age groups decreased in 2013 compared to 2012 Credit: PA

The number of people injured in incidents of serious violence dropped by 12% in 2013 compared to 2012, according to an England and Wales study by Cardiff University.

The findings confirmed that those most at risk of serious violence-related injury continue to be males aged 18-30.

The results also found the weekend to be the most violent period of the week, as violence-related attendance was most frequent on Saturday and Sunday.

The data was gathered from a scientific sample of 117 Emergency Departments, Minor Injury Units and Walk-in Centres in England and Wales.

Lead author of the study and Director of the Violence and Society Research Group at Cardiff University, Professor Jonathan Shepherd said,

"The data shows another significant year on year fall in serious violence across England and Wales. Apart from a 7% increase in 2008, levels of serious violence have fallen every year since 2001."

Experts say an increase in alcohol prices is partly responsible for the reduction.

Police appeal after Swansea star's home is looted

The Swansea player's kitbag, marked with his name, was also taken in the burglary. Credit: PA

Police are appealing for information after the home of Swansea player Garry Monk was burgled.

South Wales Police say the break-in happened on Gower Road in Swansea over the weekend.

Detectives say a large quantity of property was taken included high-value watches and jewellery, laptop computers and computer equipment, mobile phones and a Swansea City kitbag marked with the Number 16 and Garry Monk's name.

Detective Inspector Darren George of Swansea CID said, "The burglary has resulted in a significant amount of property being stolen, much of which is of great sentimental value to Garry and his family."

Anyone with information should call police on 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 quoting occurrence number 62130363685.

Wales This Week: Feeling the Force

The decision to scrap Police Authorities and replace them with Police and Crime Commissioners has been criticised by some, who say it is too expensive.

However, according to the Home Office, police reforms are working and crime is falling.

In tonight's episode, all four Welsh Police and Crime Commissioners speak to ITV Cymru Wales ten months after taking up office.

Wales This Week, 'Feeling the Force' is on tonight at 8:00pm on ITV Cymru Wales

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Home Office on PCCs: 'Reforms working; crime falling'

Police reforms are working and crime is falling. Police and Crime Commissioners in Wales have been an integral part of this by announcing a series of innovative projects since taking office.

Last November’s elections marked the biggest democratic reform in policing in our lifetimes with more than five million people voting. This gives PCCs a far greater mandate than the unelected and invisible police authorities they replaced.

– Home Office spokesperson

In response to criticisms of PCCs, the Home Office has also given more details of the progress made so far by the four Commissioners in Wales:

  • South Wales PCC has announced a force-wide roll-out of the Cardiff violence reduction model, in which A&E staff share information about violent incidents with police. He has also launched a new initiative to tackle online bullying and online crime, including child abuse.
  • In Gwent, the PCC has introduced his own app to help residents track his initiatives. He is the first PCC to do so.
  • The Dyfed Powys PCC launched a six-week consultation on rural crime in July to inform a rural policing strategy. The force is making increased use of the internet and social media to communicate with the public, inlcuding a bilingual smartphone app.

Home Office rejects PCC concerns

Police and Crime Commissioners are now making strategic decisions on policing and setting budgets Credit: ITV Cymru Wales

The Home Office has rejected criticisms over the introduction of Police and Crime Commissioners in Wales.

The Labour MP for Newport West, Paul Flynn, has told ITV Cymru Wales the new system is 'not going to work'.

The Home Office says police reforms are working and crime is falling.

Police and Crime Commissioners were elected in November last year Credit: ITV Cymru Wales

The Electoral Commission has since told the British Government that mistakes over last year's PCC elections must not be repeated.

It found only 20% of people felt they had enough information about the candidates, with turnout for the elections at a record low.

L-R: Christopher Salmon (Dyfed-Powys), Ian Johnston (Gwent), Alun Michael (South Wales) and Winston Roddick (North Wales) Credit: ITV Cymru Wales

Salaries for the four Welsh Commissioners range from £65,000 to £85,000, and each has a total office budget around ten times that amount.

In Dyfed-Powys and South Wales that is less than it was before, while in North Wales the budget has stayed the same.

Wales This Week: Feeling the Force is on at 8pm tonight on ITV Cymru Wales.

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