Violent crime in England and Wales falls again, A&E data shows


Report author Prof Jonathan Shepherd said the drop was connected to changing alcohol habits

Related Stories

Violent crime is continuing a long-term fall in England and Wales, according to annual figures from NHS hospitals.

There was a 12% fall in injuries from violent incidents in 2013, according to data from almost a third of emergency departments examined by Cardiff University.

It found 235,000 people were treated following a violent attack in 2013 - 32,800 fewer than in the previous year.

The authors said the rising cost of alcohol might have played a role.

They also said the figures mirrored other research, adding to evidence that the long-term trend in violent crime was down.

The 12% fall means it is the fifth consecutive year that NHS units have recorded a decrease in violent injuries.

Data from the Cardiff University study on violent crime, showing a drop in hospital visits
'Welcome' fall

Professor Jonathan Shepherd, the report's lead author, said: "The data shows another significant year-on-year fall. Apart from a 7% increase in 2008, levels of serious violence have fallen every year since 2001.

"Continuing, substantial decreases in serious violence are welcome for citizens, communities and in combating the fear of crime.

Man drinking beer Some campaigners have called for an increase in the price of alcohol

"They also decrease the costs of violence to health services and the criminal justice system and reduce pressures on hard-pressed Accident and Emergencies late at night at the weekend."

Men between 18 and 30 years old remained the most at risk of being a victim - but the report also found that the greatest annual decreases occurred among youth and young adult victims.

Find out more

Why has crime been falling for 20 years across the developed world? Dominic Casciani examines the theories in The Crime Conundrum, BBC Radio 4.

Listen again via iPlayer

Prof Shepherd said: "Violence is falling in many Western countries and we don't know all the reasons why.

"Binge drinking has become less frequent, and the proportion of youth 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."

'Crazy periods'

Start Quote

I think raising the price of alcohol would be giving a push to bring down the consumption levels further”

End Quote Prof John Ashton UK Faculty of Public Health

The authors said that anti-violence strategies involving local public agencies working closely together could also be yielding results.

The Cardiff University study looked at treatment given to victims at 117 emergency departments, minor injury units and NHS walk-in centres.

Responding to the report, UK Faculty of Public Health president Prof John Ashton called for an increase in the price of alcohol.

"We do periodically have these crazy periods where there's a lot of drinking - like Hogarth's Gin Lane 200 years ago - and society eventually responds and drinks less," he told BBC Radio 5 live.

"And what's important is to get behind the history curves that are happening and give them a push in the right direction.

"I think raising the price of alcohol would be giving a push to bring down the consumption levels further."

'Let down'

The trend mirrors the findings published in the Crime Survey of England and Wales, a massive rolling project that interviews people about their experiences of crime, whether or not they have gone to the police.

Crimes recorded by the police also show long-term falls in violence, but the Office for National Statistics recently said that data from forces could not be considered reliable.

There is no comparable data for injuries from violent incidents in Northern Ireland or Scotland.

However, a Police Service of Northern Ireland report on recorded crime trends, published last July, found that violent crime figures had remained "fairly constant" since 2007/2008.

There had been a "small decrease", from 30,445 incidents in 2011/2012 to 30,305 in 2012/2013, the report added.

The Scottish Crime and Justice Survey, published last month, showed there had been a 22% drop in recorded incidents of violent crime since 2008-2009.

In a separate report published on Wednesday, a watchdog urged probation services to do more to tackle alcohol misuse by offenders.

Paul McDowell, Chief Inspector of Probation, said that good work in rehabilitating offenders in the UK was being "let down" by a lack of attention to alcohol, despite its known link to violence.


More on This Story

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites


This entry is now closed for comments

Jump to comments pagination
  • rate this

    Comment number 181.

    I am more inclined to believe these statistics. Encouraging news.

  • rate this

    Comment number 180.

    The simple fact of the matter is that my children in fact suffer and see less violence on a weekend evening than I did as a teenager in the late 70s. I lived in a small town in the countryside and well as the casual violence committed by youths in my own town against each other, the weekends were also filled with punch ups at local discos with lads from other villages.

  • rate this

    Comment number 179.

    Once again statistics being wrongly used to advertise false rubbish also can you delete the "UK non-Christian claims 'absurd', senior Tories say" article as it just reeks of irony.

  • rate this

    Comment number 178.

    @142. 152 It's just that, yes the figures come from the NHS and not the Government and it's not the analysis that's the problem. It's the unsupported 'extras' that make the rest of the report open to accusations of lies and spin. By that I mean, "the authors said rising cost of alcohol might have played a role". The authors have no evidence for that but the NHS supports minimum alcohol pricing.

  • rate this

    Comment number 177.

    @130 Robbidou
    Spot on! Why does the Editor elevate three comments which misrepresent the story? This is not about reported crime figures. And yet the editor promotes three comments (164, 24, 1) grinding that very axe.

    Neither is there any evidence of relationship to alcohol pricing, the figures don't even correlate - and yet the article pushes that line as well.

  • rate this

    Comment number 176.

    Does anyone know if there has ever been a court case where the prosecution is indistinguishable from the defence.

  • rate this

    Comment number 175.

    Do the politicians think we are thick, its just so they can justify cutting the police force down.

  • rate this

    Comment number 174.

    Translated the report means, people are less willing to report it to the Police as they know full well it will be a waste of time!

  • rate this

    Comment number 173.

    Most HYS posts are positive, and yet so far the editors have still managed to weedle out a majority of cynical and negative ones for their picks.

    There is indeed an election coming, and the BBC propaganda engine is in full effect.

  • rate this

    Comment number 172.

    These statistics explained

    Me; I've been burgled. I phoned you 4 hours ago and told you. I am still waiting for someone to come. Are you coming?

    Police; No, we aren't coming.

    Conclusion; crime not registered.

  • rate this

    Comment number 171.

    Im sure that violent crime has fallen, but look at the flip side, sexual assaults, rape and indecent assaults not even investigated by the police or put through the courts, domestic abuse not reported and hidden and when the police do intervene they often fail the victims and anti social behaviour which includes acts and threats of violence not even reported. Sorry but statistics hide facts.

  • rate this

    Comment number 170.

    All the Tory red-top knuckle scrapers are turning double back flips to try and align the reality out there, with the absolute hysterical drivel pumped out every day by their appalling newspapers.

    Maybe the Sun Mail Express Star etc are just lying to you, to pander to your witless prejudices, & to ensure you continue to ignore the facts when you come to vote.Had you considered that possibility?

  • rate this

    Comment number 169.

    141.Surely not
    Next we'll be allowed to know that the vast majority of teenagers are just nice kids who would rather help an old lady than mug her.
    The "vast majority of teenagers" ARE nice kids!

  • rate this

    Comment number 168.

    Car crime has been down for many years due to immobilisers fitted as standard, meaning that just not worth the effort to break in for joy riding. Did this act as an 'entry level crime.

    p.s. lead in petrol report is fascinating, and may well be real cause. Alcohol reduction is not world wide but lead reduction is. So rather than bash tories say it is nothing to do with them whatsoever.

  • rate this

    Comment number 167.

    what about violent financial crime that ruins peoples lives like the directors of Yell/Hibu who wiped out billions of peoples money?

  • rate this

    Comment number 166.

    Don't expect bad news with an election coming up, never happened under previous governments and not going to happen under this one. If the "statistics" are correct that is good, if they are not then nothing has changed. Just live life the best way you can and hope things improve for you and your families.

  • rate this

    Comment number 165.

    Its a shame that we live in a world where statistics, a notoriously easy to cheat metric, rules our perception of the success of a government.

    That being said I don't really see a better alternative, so I would hope that people take an interest and actually bother to think for a moment about what these figures are based on and really mean before basing all their views on them.

  • rate this

    Comment number 164.

    I never hold much faith in statistics, they never give a true picture and can be manipulated by any body to serve their own ends. A lot of crime goes UN-reported and are never put in STATISTICS.

  • rate this

    Comment number 163.

    Well the police force has like everyone suffered cutbacks - it is common sense less police less crime uncovered LOL
    I take statistics with a generous pinch of salt, they can be massaged quite easily. and it's highly likely they will decrease in the run up to an election !More importtant are outcomes of reported crime, i live in a pleasant rural area but a spate of local robberies remain unsolved

  • rate this

    Comment number 162.

    Perception is not reality - this is NHS A&E data, corroborated by police crime data. As unpalatable as it is to those who blindly believe the tabloids like The Daily Mail, Sun etc, they show a decline. There's no conspiracy or issue with reporting, and the fall is welcome.


Page 35 of 44


More UK stories



BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.