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Tom Brake

Liberal Democrat MP for Carshalton and Wallington

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"Epsom and St Helier University Hospitals NHS Trust must work with local police to identify knife crime blackspots" - BRAKE

May 5, 2009 8:28 AM

Tom Brake MP for Carshalton and Wallington is calling on Epsom and St Helier University Hospitals NHS Trust to do their part to tackle knife crime by taking part in a new scheme that could drastically cut the number of incidents.

The 'Cardiff Model', established in 2002 based on the approach adopted by Cardiff Hospital, collects data from Accident and Emergency wards about the precise locations and times of violent incidents and shares them anonymously with the police. This new approach has led to a 40% drop in knife crime in some areas.

In a reply to a Freedom of Information request, Epsom and St Helier University Hospitals NHS Trust admit that they are currently not following the Cardiff Model.

The Trust would appear not even to be keeping any record of injuries caused by violent criminal offences. To this question, "Do the Accident and Emergency Departments within your Trust collect details of the locations of any incidents from patients that present to you with injuries caused or suspected to be caused by violent criminal offences (including, but not limited to, gun shot wounds, stab wounds, and assaults with or without a weapon)", the FOI officer responded negatively.

Tom Brake MP commented:

"There is clear evidence that when hospitals help the police build up a picture of where knife crime is taking place, areas with high numbers of incidents can be tackled,

"The Cardiff model allows for the information to be handed on by hospitals anonymously. The result has been a fall in knife crime of nearly a half. Unfortunately, 4 out of 5 hospitals in England are not passing on this vital information to the police. Amongst them is Epsom and St Helier University Hospitals NHS Trust.

Tom has welcomed the fact that the Trust are now in discussions with the Police about more effective data-sharing. He said,

"I strongly urge a very rapid change in policy by Epsom and St Helier University Hospitals NHS Trust so that the risk of knife crime in the Sutton area can be cut."

43 young people died from knife crime last year throughout the country and local campaigners believe there is a strong case for hospital accident and emergency units and the police to work together to identify knife crime blackspots.