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Royal recognition for Cardiff research which made the streets safer

18 November 2009

Pioneering Cardiff University research into violence, alcohol and late-night safety has been recognised with one of the highest awards in the academic world.

The University’s Violence and Society Research Group is among the winners of a Queen’s Anniversary Prize for excellence in higher education, announced tonight (NOV 18) at a ceremony at St James’s Palace, London. Her Majesty the Queen will present the award to the University at Buckingham Palace in February.

For more than a decade, the Research Group’s findings have been translated into practical action to tackle late-night injuries in city centres. A key part of winning the Award was the Group’s work in setting up the prototype Crime Reduction Partnership in Cardiff in 1996. Academics, health professionals, South Wales Police and Cardiff Council worked together to identify violence hot-spots. In this period, Cardiff became the safest city of its size in the UK. Following Government legislation, many other communities have now adopted Cardiff’s partnership model, now known in Wales as Community Safety Partnerships.

Other key achievements by the Group, which includes Cardiff University experts in surgery, medicine, psychology, business and statistics, are:

  • Use of anonymised Accident and Emergency data to identify trends in late-night violence. This is used by Community Safety Partnerships and in the Group’s annual national violence survey
  • New programmes of care for violence victims at every stage of their treatment, including a new service for post traumatic stress
  • Identifying risk factors for violence – including crowd movements, levels of CCTV surveillance and the price of alcohol.
  • Research on "glassing" injuries which has led to the introduction of toughened glass and plastic vessels in pubs and nightclubs
  • Research leading to the creation of the Universities’ Police Science Institute – a collaboration between Cardiff University, Glamorgan University and South Wales Police, which combines practical policing research with police training
  • International policy development for the World Health Organisation Violence Prevention Alliance

Welsh Assembly Government First Minister Rhodri Morgan said: "The Queen’s Anniversary Prize is one of the top honours a University can be awarded and Cardiff University should be really proud of their achievement.

"I would like to congratulate heartily Professor Jonathan Shepherd and his team because their work has made a real difference to so many people who live in and travel to the capital city of Wales to enjoy its attractions by night and day. It is important that these people feel safe and the University’s research into the cause of violent injury and possible pathways to reduction of harm is helping to achieve that.

"The Cardiff Violence Prevention Group was established to translate this research into practical action. The results of their work speak volumes – a 40 per cent decrease in violence levels in the Cardiff area."

The Vice-Chancellor of Cardiff University, Dr David Grant said: "This is not just a triumph for Cardiff University, but for our entire community.

"The Violence and Society Research Group is a perfect example of how academic excellence can bring practical benefits. The team’s discoveries about the causes and consequences of violence have been recognised around the world as breaking new ground in research. This pioneering approach has then been put to work through the Cardiff Community Safety Partnership, creating a safer environment on our streets in a way which has now been adopted throughout the UK.

"Clearly, we at Cardiff University are delighted that Professor Shepherd and his team have achieved our fourth success in the Queen’s Anniversary Prizes - one of the most prestigious awards in higher education. We also believe that this is a success in which the NHS, South Wales Police, Cardiff Council and all our local partners can take pride."

Professor Jonathan Shepherd, of Cardiff University’s School of Dentistry and Director of the Research Group, said: "I first became concerned about this issue as a young surgeon treating the victims of facial injuries every week. It seemed amazing that many cases I saw were not being reported to the police. Over the years, my colleagues and I have worked to find practical solutions from health-based research. It is a great privilege to receive this Award, and hugely encouraging for our continuing work with our partners, locally, nationally and internationally in preventing community violence."

A community success

Cardiff’s success in the awards has been welcomed by its partners.

South Wales Police Chief Constable Barbara Wilding said: "The University Violence and Society Research Group has been one of the key members of the Community Safety Partnership and together we have made great strides in tackling city centre violence and making Cardiff city a safer place. I am delighted that the research group has been the recipient of this prestigious award. Together with our partners we are now looking forward to extend this work throughout the whole of the South Wales area."

Councillor Judith Woodman, Cardiff Council Executive Member for Communities, Housing and Social Justice, said: "I am delighted the Violence Research Group is being recognised with this prestigious award. The work undertaken has made a great deal of difference. The partnership of the group which has seen health, the Police and ourselves working closely together with licensees and academics to tackle violent crime has made our city safer for everyone and it is fantastic this success is being acknowledged."

David Francis, Chair of Cardiff and Vale University Health Board and All-Wales Champion for reducing violence and aggression against NHS staff, said: "I want to congratulate Professor Shepherd and his Cardiff University colleagues on this achievement. It represents many years hard work and has resulted in many less injured people. This is an excellent example of partnership work, with the University and the Health Board working alongside local authority and police partners to make our streets safer and in supporting victims of violence and improving protection for staff from aggressors. Professor Shepherd’s work has been central to this success."

Cardiff University

Cardiff University is recognised in independent government assessments as one of Britain’s leading teaching and research universities. Founded by Royal Charter in 1883, the University today combines impressive modern facilities and a dynamic approach to teaching and research. The University’s breadth of expertise in research and research-led teaching encompasses: the humanities; the natural, physical, health, life and social sciences; engineering and technology; preparation for a wide range of professions; and a longstanding commitment to lifelong learning. The University has just established the Universities Police Science Institute, a joint venture with South Wales Police and the University of Glamorgan, which will be the first institute in England and Wales dedicated to addressing issues facing modern police forces. Cardiff is a member of the Russell Group of Britain’s leading research universities.

The University website is at:

The Violence and Society Research Group website

The Queen’s Anniversary Prizes

The Queen’s Anniversary Prizes for Higher and Further Education are separate from but sit alongside the Queen’s Awards for Enterprise in the National Honours System. They were founded and are administered by an independent charity, The Royal Anniversary Trust. The Prizes are awarded every two years. They were first awarded in 1994 and originated out of the commemorations for the 40th Anniversary of the Queen’s reign. Around 20 prizes are awarded in each round. To date, 170 awards have been made in the eight rounds.

Cardiff University and the Queen’s Aniversary Prizes

The Violence and Society Research Group is the fourth member of the University to receive an Anniversary Prize. The other three are:

  • Institute of Medical Genetics, School of Medicine. Set up in 1987, the Institute won a 2007 Queen’s Anniversary Prize for work identifying genetic causes of diseases and developing new diagnostic tests and treatments for them, brining benefits for patients and their families.
  • Manufacturing Engineering Centre (MEC). Established in 1996, the MEC won a 2000 Queen’s Anniversary Prize for its contribution to the economy, particularly its innovativel programme of support for firms using its research expertise, state-of-the-art facilities and practical technology transfer.
  • Professor Tony Campbell (School of Medicine). Professor Campbell won a 1998 Queen’s Anniversary Prize for his pioneering use of chemiluminescence in clinical settings, which has revolutionised biomedical research and clinical diagnosis, leading to improvements in healthcare around the world.

Professor Jonathan Shepherd

School of Dentistry

Telephone 029 20 742 442 or 20 744 215

Mobile 07779 490022


Stephen Rouse

Public Relations Office,

Cardiff University

T: 029 20 875 596

Mobile 07976 513386


Lowri Jones

Public Relations Office,

Cardiff University

T: 029 20 870 995,