Decline in violence comes to an end, survey suggests

Hospital ward Image copyright PA
Image caption More than 200,000 people went to hospital as a result of violent injuries last year

A long-term decline in violence in England and Wales seems to have levelled off, a study of data from 91 accident and emergency units suggests.

The Cardiff University study found levels last year were broadly the same as in 2014. Previously, numbers had dropped each year since 2008.

But the study found there was an 8% rise in victims over the age of 50.

The survey collected data from A&E departments, minor injury units and walk-in centres.

Last month the Home Office launched a crime reduction strategy which it said would make the most of new technology.

An estimated 210,000 people attended hospital emergency departments for injuries as a result of violence last year.

According to the survey it was the first year since 2008 that there was "no real change" in the figures, after successive annual falls.

CCTV footage

Prof Jonathan Shepherd, director of the Violence Research Group at Cardiff University, said: "After successive annual falls in overall levels of violence in England and Wales, this is the first time since 2008 violence in England and Wales serious enough to result in hospital treatment shows no real change.

"This finding is also consistent with the latest report from the Crime Survey for England and Wales, which also found that rates of violent incidents were no different in the year ending September 2015, compared with the previous 12 months.

"It is possible that the long steady decline in violence in England and Wales has come to an end."

The researchers said one possible reason was that local authorities and police were spending less money on monitoring in real time footage from CCTV cameras which it is thought can help prevent violent incidents from escalating.

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