United Kingdom

2020 was least violent year on record thanks to closure of pubs and clubs 

The complete shutdown of the night-time economy during the pandemic resulted in the least violent year on record, according to a major study.

Analysis by Cardiff University’s Violence Research Group revealed that the number of people treated in hospital as a result of violence-related injuries fell by almost a third during lockdown.

Data gathered from 133 NHS hospital emergency units showed that 119,111 people attended for treatment of violence-related injuries in 2020, down from 175,764 in 2019.

Researchers believe the closure of bars and nightclubs across the country was the biggest factor in the reduction of the volume of violence with numbers falling across all age groups and both genders.

Professor Jonathan Shepherd, a retired surgeon who co-authored the report said as we come out of lockdown it is important some of the lessons learned during the pandemic were taken on board.

He said: “Lockdowns, especially the 23 March 2020 lockdown, were associated with steep falls in violence. Closure of pubs, clubs and other social venues prior to this was also associated with significant falls.

"Each easing of restrictions thereafter was followed by violence increases; each tightening of restrictions in the autumn was associated with decreases.”

He added: “Having thriving hospitality and vibrant city centres is a good thing but it is important it is safe. The lesson for the future as we come out of lockdown is that we do what we can do reduce the risk of violence.

“This can be done by having targeted policing, real time monitoring of CCTV and good licensing frameworks. It is important as we come out of lockdown we don’t let the cork out of the bottle too quickly.”

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