John Goulston, the chief executive of Mayday, could find himself summoned by Mayor of London Boris Johnson to explain why Croydon’s biggest hospital has not been helping the police with their enquiries, in a capital-wide scheme intended to help to reduce knife crime.
None of the local hospitals in Croydon or Sutton – Mayday, Purley nor St Helier – are participating in a data-gathering exercise with the Metropolitan Police, a scheme which when implemented elsewhere has been shown to help reduce knife crime and other violent offences by more than 40 per cent.
Yet the hospitals in Croydon and Sutton are among more than one-third in London which have yet to co-operate with the scheme.
Under the “Cardiff Model”, hospitals are asked to share anonymous data collected from knife victims and other violence-related A&E admissions to help support policing in tackling crime hot spots. In areas where it has been implemented, it has led to a 42 per cent reduction in A&E admissions as a result of violent crime.
“Accident and emergency departments (A&E) can contribute distinctively and effectively to violence prevention by working with Crime and Disorder Reduction Partnerships (CDRPs) and by sharing, electronically wherever possible, simple anonymised data about the precise location of violence, weapon use and day/time of incident,” a Government paper in 2009 stated.
The practice was also reported on in the British Medical Journal. The full adoption of the practice was a specific manifesto commitment of Boris Johnson before he was re-elected as Mayor in 2012. “London will learn from a pilot in Cardiff,” the Tory crime manifesto said, “which showed that sharing data between hospitals and police enabled the police to cut the number of violent incidents including fistfights and stabbings by over 40 per cent.”
That is now looking like another broken election promise from the Conservatives’ failed Mayor of London.Even Johnson has said that it is “disappointing that at the moment only 30 per cent of the data about crimes from A&Es and walk-in centres is actually shared with the police”.
After questioning from London Assembly member Caroline Pidgeon at the final Mayor’s Question Time of 2015, Johnson admitted that he would have to get some hospital chief executives in to City Hill to discuss the lack of implementation of the Cardiff Model. He also accepted the need for better education within schools on knife crime and that he would now consider further funding for organisations that provide dedicated youth workers in A&E departments.
Pidgeon had been pursuing the matter for more than a year before Stephen Greenhalgh, on behalf of the Tory Mayor, finally provided a written answer. Read Greenhalgh’s letter here.
Pidgeon, the LibDems’ candidate to replace Johnson as London Mayor in May, said, “The Cardiff Model should have been implemented in every corner of London many years ago.
“The Mayor likes to talk tough about knife crime, but when it comes to tackling knife crime only actions matter. A clear pledge he made to Londoners to tackle this issue has not been met.”
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