Recording by the police of violent offences; an Accident and Emergency Department perspective

Med Sci Law. 1989 Jul;29(3):251-7. doi: 10.1177/002580248902900311.


The British Crime Surveys have demonstrated that police-derived crime statistics are an unreliable indicator of the true number of violent offences in society. We therefore investigated police recording of consecutive victims of violence who sought treatment in a large Accident and Emergency (A & E) Department. Of victims assaulted within the boundaries of the inner-city Police Division, only one quarter were recorded by the police, though half claimed police awareness of the incident. Proportionately fewer assaults which occurred in the street, in discoteques or on Saturdays were recorded, in comparison to assaults which occurred in other locations and on other days. Proportionately more female victims were recorded, compared to males. A & E data provide a useful insight into the efficiency and effectiveness of inner-city policing. Victims Support Schemes should liaise with A & E Departments as well as with the police.

MeSH terms

  • Emergency Service, Hospital*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Records*
  • Social Control, Formal*
  • United Kingdom
  • Violence*