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Reducing violent crime

Two police officers

We are reducing violent crime across the UK and beyond, by bringing together intelligence from medical and criminal justice departments.

Jonathan Shepherd, a Cardiff University professor and maxillofacial surgeon, noticed he was treating more and more assault victims with broken jaws and cheekbones.

After recognising that 65% of these cases weren't known to the police, Professor Shepherd established the Cardiff Violence Prevention Group to explore this further.

"There were people on my operating table every week, injured by someone who was never brought to book. It was a shock to discover that large numbers of violent offences were not known to the police"
Professor Jonathan Shepherd Professor Emeritus in Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery

'The Cardiff Model'

In 2004 the Cardiff Violence Prevention Group developed an entirely new way of sharing information about violent crime, known as 'The Cardiff Model'.

This framework allows accident and emergency departments to share monthly updates on violent incidents with police units, including where the crime took place, the weapon used, and the victim's injuries.

This hospital data, combined with police intelligence, can then be used to inform violence prevention strategies.

Reducing violence in Cardiff

'The Cardiff Model' helped achieve big cuts in community violence across Cardiff:

  • year on year decreases in violence-related admissions to Cardiff's emergency unit
  • 39% reduction in violence inside licensed premises
  • 42% reduction in hospital admissions and violence recorded by the police, relative to 14 similar UK cities
  • Circa £5million saved per year on Cardiff's health, social and criminal justice costs between 2003-2006
A small group of young people involved in an altercation

Key facts

  • Up to two thirds of violent incidents requiring hospital treatment are unknown to the police
  • 'The Cardiff Model' has now been implemented across Jamaica, Australia and the USA

Cutting crime across the UK

Since 2010, data on violence-related injuries has been collected from 164 NHS emergency departments across England and Wales. Departments using 'The Cardiff Model' saw a substantial decrease in violence between 2010-2017, especially amongst children and adolescents.

Since 2016, all NHS Trusts with A&E departments, including London's 29 emergency departments, have been required to share data on violence-related admissions with police units, inspired by 'The Cardiff Model'.

The National Violence Surveillance Network reported 21,000 fewer violence-related A&E admissions in 2016 compared with 2015, and 124,000 fewer compared with 2010.

In 2018, the UK Government released its ‘Serious Violence Strategy’ informed by the ‘The Cardiff Model’ data. As a result of this, in 2019 the Government announced £35M for the funding of 18 new Violence Reduction Units in the police force areas most affected by serious violence.

Crime scene tape

A global impact

'The Cardiff Model' has now been introduced across communities in Jamaica, Australia and the United States of America.

In 2016 the World Health Organization (WHO) published a report entitled ‘INSPIRE; Seven strategies for ending violence against children’, which aims to inform WHO member states on how to best tackle violence against children. Within this report, the WHO publicly advocate for the worldwide use of ‘The Cardiff Model’ as a means of achieving this goal.