Cardiff University’s Violence Research Group’s innovative model for tackling violence has been adopted by the Government in its first Serious Violence Strategy.
The Information Sharing to Tackle Violence (ISTV) initiative – a violence prevention programme pioneered by Professor Jonathan Shepherd - uses data from accident and emergency units to pinpoint violence hotspots, helping law enforcement and government agencies to reduce violence and cut the cost of emergency treatment in hospitals.
The Government’s new strategy, which marks a major shift in its response to knife and gun crime, notes: “Evidence has shown that a substantial proportion of assault cases treated in hospital emergency departments are unknown to the police, and so the Home Office, the Department of Health and Social Care and NHS England worked together to support the Information Sharing to Tackle Violence (ISTV) initiative in England.
“This provides information to support action by the police and others to prevent and reduce violent incidents. This includes adjusting routes of police patrols, reallocating police from the suburbs to the town or city centre at certain times of the day and week, targeting problematic licensed premises, informing deployment of CCTV, pedestrianising certain streets and introducing plastic drinking glasses.”
Commenting on the new strategy, Professor Shepherd said: “It's great to see that the Information Sharing model developed at Cardiff University has a key role to play in the Serious Violence Strategy. Independent evaluations have shown that this ‘Cardiff Model’ cuts violence by more than 40 per cent in cities where it has been implemented. It provides an effective way to ensure that stop and search, and knife carrying, is properly targeted.”
The ‘Cardiff Model’ was first trialled in Cardiff from 2002 to 2007 and has been rolled out around the world - in countries such as Netherlands, United States, Australia and South Africa.
The Cardiff Model was conceived by surgeon Professor Shepherd just over 20 years ago when he found police were unaware of most violent incidents which resulted in emergency hospital treatment. People injured in these unreported incidents would often end up on his operating table needing facial reconstructive surgery.
In 2008, this ‘Cardiff Model’ gained international recognition when Professor Shepherd was awarded the Stockholm Prize in Criminology. The World Health Organisation (WHO) uses the model as an exemplar for violence prevention across the globe.