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Safer cities

18 Hydref 2007

A successful violence prevention scheme developed at Cardiff University is being considered as standard policy for England by the UK Government.

Professor Jonathan Shepherd, Professor of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery at the Dental School, set up the pioneering Cardiff Violence Prevention Group ten years ago. The group has promoted co-operation between police, councils, health authorities and other bodies in attempting to curb violence. It has successfully reduced alcohol-related street crime in Cardiff by encouraging victims who end up in hospital to report assaults and by identifying problem pubs and clubs.

Professor Shepherd’s work was highlighted in Parliament by Alun Michael, MP for Cardiff South & Penarth. As a result Professor Shepherd, has now met with UK Health Secretary Alan Johnson and Mr Michael to discuss the Cardiff Violence Prevention model.

Secretary of State for Health Alan Johnson said: "I found the visit very useful indeed. In particular I shall be looking at the possibility of using the evidence from the violence reduction work in Cardiff to challenge hospitals in England to consider how they can reduce the impact on their own resources by working with the police and local authorities to prevent some of the incidents of violence.

"Clearly, prevention benefits the NHS as well as having wider benefits to the public and reducing the number of victims. I'm grateful to Professor Jonathan Shepherd for his work and to my colleague Alun Michael and Lorraine Barrett AM for drawing this work to my attention."

Alun Michael said: "Professor Shepherd’s research has helped to identify the cases of violence that were draining NHS resources. The result is that Cardiff is now the safest city in its cohort of cities. The public is safer and the waste of NHS resources on avoidable, expensive treatment has been reduced. That lesson should be applied elsewhere."

Professor Shepherd was recently awarded the 2008 Stockholm Prize in Criminology for his research into violent crime.