As if the emotional and physical damage of violence were not enough, crimes from assault to homicide are punching a hole in our region’s economy of over £185 million per year.
So says the first-ever report into the fiscal damage crimes against the person costs – compiled by the Public Health Institute at Liverpool John Moores University and released by the Merseyside Violence Reduction Partnership.
From the price of Accident and Emergency care to the near £30 million bill for policing, the report also looks at lost days at work at this time of massively increased absence due to COVID.
Amongst its findings, are:
- Serious violence costs businesses close-on £30 million per year in lost productivity
- Our already beleaguered health service spent £25.3 million tending injuries from broken bones to wounds from bottles, and helping patients rehabilitate
- Court costs to hear serious violence cases came in at £54 million and,
- Putting serious cases through the criminal justice system topped a whopping £80 million per annum.
“Aside from the obvious sums spent on treating injuries and prosecuting offenders, this report has also put into stark focus the hidden costs of violent crime. This includes a hefty 81,000 hours of counselling for victims and the impact of fear of crime which has some businesses feeling it necessary to spend large sums of money protecting their premises” said Detective Superintendent Siobhan Gainer, Head of the Merseyside Violence Reduction Partnership (VRP).
“This high price is worth bearing in mind when we make decisions about services, particularly those which prevent serious violence occurring in the first place. Each crime we stop from happening is saving money and more importantly, reducing the pain victims, their families and our communities experience.”
The LJMU team, led by Dr Lisa Jones and Professor Zara Quigg, worked with Merseyside Police, the NHS, the Home Office, and the Merseyside VRP’s Evidence Hub, to examine the 49,000 incidents of serious violence during the year 2019-2020. Acknowledging that not all incidents were reported to the police, the study highlighted a direct correlation between deprivation and violence, adding: “There is a clear public health argument for investing in violence prevention and a strong economic case can also be made.”
Zara Quigg and Lisa Jones from the Public Health Institute said: “Our research shows that violence imposes a substantial economic burden to Merseyside through it impacts on the victims and survivors of violence. However, violence is preventable and this underlines the importance of the work by the Merseyside Violence Reduction Partnership to invest in community-based programmes and early intervention to prevent violence, which we know can be a cost-effective use of public resources”.