Professor Data - Keeping Us Safe


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Prof. Jonathan Shepherd, director of The Violence Research Group at Cardiff University, has been keeping us safe for over 20 years by filling the gaps between police knowledge, victims of violence and hospital admissions. He pioneered a new way of fighting violence in the UK, known as the Cardiff Model, when he was working as a maxillofacial surgeon in 1997. Realising that most victims of violence showed up in hospital for facial surgery but didn't show up in police violent crime data he devised a radical anonymous database that enabled sharing between hospital and police. From this database police were able to accurately create a monthly 'hotspot map' of the nature, timing and characteristics of violence, showing where they were most needed.

Police changed their routes, switching resources from peaceful suburbs to city centres. His data on violence and cramped drinking spaces got pubs to open up space so drinkers weren't crushed together and more likely to fight. His data made pubs switch from glass to plastic glasses for beer, avoiding them turning into weapons in after-hour fights. City centre streets became pedestrianised, drastically reducing alcohol related traffic injuries. The Cardiff Model was rolled out nationwide and by 2007, violent incidents had fallen by around 40%, with savings of £7m to the taxpayer.

In this programme, we profile Jonathan Shepherd and explore his ongoing work with the police research unit into gang violence, the effects of the Have a Word campaign, developing initiatives for the armed forces and working with Formula One to develop 'Face Saver' helmets.

Every initiative is data based. Jonathan Shepherd is changing the world with numbers.

A profile of Prof. Jonathan Shepherd who pioneered a new way to prevent violence in cities