New guidance for forces to use A&E data for crime reduction

Research shows sharing data with local partners has potential benefits in reducing crime

The College of Policing has commissioned independent research to look at how police forces are using A&E data. The findings have resulted in the development of a guidance document for forces to make best use of locally available information to help reduce crime.

It highlights principles for collecting A&E data; good practice on sharing information and how to use A&E data for crime prevention.

The work builds on the Cardiff Model for Violence Prevention, used by some forces, which links police and community safety partnerships to make use of A&E data to identify where violent crime is taking place.

The latest research found:

  • A&E data can be used to support violence reduction by police having the best information to hand, by supporting police deployments, helping to targeting resources and support problem-solving
  • A&E data can provide information which is not always reported to (and recorded by) the police
  • A&E data can be useful for crime prevention initiatives such as informing licensing decisions.

Case study-A&E data reveal unexpected source of weapons

In Brighton, analysts reviewing an A&E dataset noticed that there had been a sudden increase in the number of assaults involving bricks and debris in one part of town. The reason for the sudden increase was unknown. Identification of this piece of information in the A&E data led the council to investigate the area and they realised that there was a building site with an uncovered skip next to the nightclub where the assaults were taking place.

The council contacted the local environmental health team, which ordered the building site to cover its skips, removing the ready supply of unintended weaponry. The Community Safety Partnership subsequently decided that only closed skips could be used within a certain radius of licensed premises to prevent similar instances of violence.

Case study: Using A&E data for off-licence applications

In Cambridge City Centre, A&E data has twice been used to inform licensing courts. In both cases retailers had appealed against decisions by the city council to prohibit alcohol sales off-licence in a cumulative impact zone.

The area had a homeless shelter, a primary school and a high number of assaults. In both cases, the licensing magistrates found against the retailers and there are now two dry grocery stores in Cambridge. This has had knock-on effects, with other retailers withdrawing appeals or modifying licensing conditions.

The guidance documents can be found here:
Injury surveillance: using A&E data for crime reduction (guidance document)

Injury surveillance: using A&E data for crime reduction (technical report)

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