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: New research demonstrates benefits of national and international device registries

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Microbial 'signature' for sexual crimes

1 hour ago

Bacterial communities living on an individual's pubic hairs could be used as a microbial 'signature' to trace their involvement in sexual assault cases, according to a study published in the open access journal Investigative Ge ...

Brazil: Google fined in Petrobras probe

3 hours ago

A Brazilian court says it has fined Google around $200,000 for refusing to intercept emails needed in a corruption investigation at state-run oil company Petrobras.

Atari's 'E.T.' game joins Smithsonian collection

3 hours ago

One of the "E.T." Atari game cartridges unearthed this year from a heap of garbage buried deep in the New Mexico desert has been added to the video game history collection at the Smithsonian.

Sony threatens to sue for publishing stolen emails

3 hours ago

A lawyer representing Sony Pictures Entertainment is warning news organizations not to publish details of company files leaked by hackers in one of the largest digital breaches ever against an American company.

Microsoft builds support over Ireland email case

3 hours ago

Microsoft said Monday it had secured broad support from a coalition of influential technology and media firms as it seeks to challenge a US ruling ordering it to hand over emails stored on a server in Ireland.

Recommended for you

New approach to particle therapy dosimetry

10 hours ago

Researchers at the National Physical Laboratory (NPL), in collaboration with EMRP partners, are working towards a universal approach to particle beam therapy dosimetry.

Supplement maker admits lying about ingredients

Dec 17, 2014

Federal prosecutors say the owner and president of a dietary supplement company has admitted his role in the sale of diluted and adulterated dietary ingredients and supplements sold by his company.

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.

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.