Using Emergency Department Data for Crime Prevention
The World Health Organisation promotes the sharing of emergency department data with police as part of the public health approach to violence prevention, and this approach has been increasingly promoted in England and Wales over the past two decades.
In turn, there is a growing body of evidence that Accident and Emergency (A&E) data can help inform the practices and decisions of police, community safety partnerships (CSPs), city councils and licensing bodies to reduce violence and associated costs.
Data sharing can be extremely effective and, when used to inform practice, can reduce the number of patients requiring emergency department treatment for assault by 30%. Many police practitioners have recognised the potential value of A&E data for crime reduction, but the level and types of use of this data by police, CSPs and other bodies differs between areas in the England and Wales. While good and promising practice has been developed in a number of local areas, these practices are not always known to other practitioners who may want to carry out similar activities.
The College of Policing, on behalf of the National Policing Lead for Gangs and Criminal Use of Firearms, commissioned RAND Europe to undertake research into the uses of A&E data by police in England and Wales. In partnership with colleagues at the University of Cardiff and Addenbrookes Hospital, the research team developed up-to-date guidance for police practitioners on available A&E data and its potential uses, as well as on how to establish and maintain data-sharing partnerships with NHS partners.
The project also reviewed the state of practice in key sites across England where A&E data-sharing has been established.
The research report highlights principles for collecting A&E data; good practice on sharing information and how to use A&E data for crime prevention. It 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 validating or challenging existing knowledge, supporting police deployments, targeting resources and supporting 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.
Joint research highlights wider public benefit of A&E data in crime reduction, 19 Dec 2014 (college.police.uk)
Injury surveillance: using A&E data for crime reduction: Guidance for police analysts and practitioners, available from the College of Policing website (college.police.uk)
Alex Sutherland, Project Manager
Dr Adrian Boyle, Addenbrookes Hospital
Professor Jonathan Shepherd, Cardiff University