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Surge in violence in Booze Britain sees A & E assaults rise to five an hour


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Surge in violence in Booze Britain sees A & E assaults rise to five an hour



By James Slack

Last updated at 12:53 AM on 29th March 2010




Serious assaults which left victims needing hospital treatment have soared over the past year, dealing a huge blow to Labour's insistence that violent crime is falling.

Stretched A&E departments were forced to treat five badly injured victims of violent attacks every hour.

Ministers have highlighted figures from the British Crime Survey - a poll of 40,000 households - showing the number of assaults is on the wane.



On call: People on duty at a Bristol hospital


But information compiled by NHS Trusts, which measures the number of injuries which required hospital treatment, show a leap of more than 3 per cent.

Figures obtained by the LibDems show that between December 2008 and November 2009 there were 43,446 patients treated for assault.

Of these 27,064 - or two in three - took place in the Government's Tackling Knives Action Plan areas, where police are supposedly targeting loutish behaviour.

The injuries requiring hospital treatment range from knife attacks and glassings to beatings.

It is not known how many can be directly linked to drunken behaviour but 24-hour opening has been previously blamed for a rise in latenight punch-ups and A&E admissions.

The LibDems blame the increase on the Government's stubborn refusal to adopt the so- called 'Cardiff Model' for dealing with alcohol-fuelled attacks.

Under this system doctors log information about when and where an assault took place, along with the type of weapon used.






The data is then passed on to police so they can flood the worst-affected areas with officers, driving the number of incidents down.

But despite the Cardiff system having a proven track-record of success, cutting violent assaults by 40 per cent in its first five years, it has been adopted by just 30 per cent of NHS trusts in England.

LibDem home affairs spokesman Chris Huhne said: 'It beggars belief why anyone would ignore best practice which drastically reduces woundings by 40 per cent.'

It is the second significant blow to Labour's insistence it has violent crime under control.

The party has been repeatedly claiming recorded violent crime is down, with ministers insisting that any apparent increase in violence is due to changes in the way the crime is recorded by the police.

But figures produced by the independent House of Commons library for the Conservatives show how all violence reported to the police is up by 44 per cent since Labour came to power.

Researchers say it is likely 618,417 crimes against the person would have been recorded in 1998/99 using the current method. In 2008/9 there were 903,442 recorded instances of violence against the person.

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