Doctors are key to tackling knife violence, says expert

Jul 18, 2008

Every hospital emergency department should share information about violent incidents with local crime reduction agencies to tackle the problem of knife crime, says an expert in this week's BMJ.

Professor Jonathan Shepherd, Director of the Violence Research Group at Cardiff University, believes anonymous data should be collected by all emergency departments on the locations and times that violence occurs and the types of weapons used, and then shared with crime reduction partnerships, so that violence "hotspots" can be identified and targeted.

Evidence shows that increasing the perceived likelihood of being caught is more of a deterrent than the severity of sentence, and that police interventions that target "hotspots" are particularly effective, he writes.

Since 2000, violence in England and Wales has become considerably less frequent, but injuries may have become more serious, says Shepherd. Hospital statistics show that rates of hospital admission in England for violence of all types increased (from 82.7/100 000 in 2000-1 to 114.1/100 000 in 2006-7) while admissions due to knife violence also increased (from 8.5/100 000 to 11.3/100 000). However, at the same time, treatment in emergency departments after violence decreased from about 850 to 620 per 100 000.

"It is not safe to assume that the most serious violence, including knife and gun violence, will have been reported", says Shepherd. Indeed, many serious violent incidents which result in treatment are not reported to the police due to fear of reprisal or an inability to identify assailants.

Shepherd points out that evaluation of partnership work over the past 10 years shows that the 350 Crime Reduction Partnerships to which the NHS, local authorities and police all contribute has confirmed that an integrated approach and data sharing significantly reduces violence compared with the police and local authorities working alone.

He suggests that alongside measures that decrease the availability of knives, a prevention policy of hospitals sharing information with other agencies is vital to tackling knife violence.

Key to this will be emergency medicine consultants being directly involved in partnership prevention work, including attending meetings with the police and local authority representatives, he concludes.

Source: British Medical Journal

Explore further: Experts call for higher exam pass marks to close performance gap between international and UK medical graduates

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Weapons tied to repeat domestic abuse

Jan 29, 2014

Women are up to 83 percent more likely to experience repeat abuse by their male partners if a weapon is used in the initial abuse incident, according to a new study that has implications for victims, counselors ...

SF protests go on without new wireless shutdowns

Aug 16, 2011

(AP) -- Civil libertarian groups have backed away from threats to legally challenge the Bay Area Rapid Transit system's wireless service shutdown last week after the agency refused a repeat amid rush-hour ...

Transit agency head defends cell service shutoff

Aug 16, 2011

(AP) -- The head of the Bay Area Rapid Transit agency is defending the system's move to cut wireless service to thwart a planned protest last week. But he says the tactic likely won't be used again.

Recommended for you

Obese British man in court fight for surgery

Jul 11, 2011

A British man weighing 22 stone (139 kilograms, 306 pounds) launched a court appeal Monday against a decision to refuse him state-funded obesity surgery because he is not fat enough.

2008 crisis spurred rise in suicides in Europe

Jul 08, 2011

The financial crisis that began to hit Europe in mid-2008 reversed a steady, years-long fall in suicides among people of working age, according to a letter published on Friday by The Lancet.

New food labels dished up to keep Europe healthy

Jul 06, 2011

A groundbreaking deal on compulsory new food labels Wednesday is set to give Europeans clear information on the nutritional and energy content of products, as well as country of origin.

Overweight men have poorer sperm count

Jul 04, 2011

Overweight or obese men, like their female counterparts, have a lower chance of becoming a parent, according to a comparison of sperm quality presented at a European fertility meeting Monday.

User comments : 1

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

GrayMouser
not rated yet Jul 18, 2008
Oh yeah, let's start another single-issue pressure group.

More news stories

Teachers' scare tactics may lead to lower exam scores

As the school year winds down and final exams loom, teachers may want to avoid reminding students of the bad consequences of failing a test because doing so could lead to lower scores, according to new research published ...