Primary Care Trusts are now ‘responsible authorities’ under the Crime and Disorder Act and they have become full members of Crime and Disorder Reduction Partnerships giving them an equal voice. Trusts will now have more influence in shaping local action to tackle crime and the causes of crime. The new status will also offer real opportunities to affect the quality of life for their resident population.This latest development in joined up working recognizes that Trusts can make an impact in helping to tackle crime, disorder and the misuse of drugs. On drugs, there are already many successful examples of joint working. Trusts have a key role in increasing the numbers of problem drug users in treatment and they act as a banker for pooled drugs treatment budgets on behalf of local partnerships.
Crime also has a huge impact on the NHS which spends up to 1.7 billion pounds on alcohol misuse. The impact is felt most keenly in accident & emergency departments where at peak times up to 70% of attendance can be alcohol-related. The Alcohol Harm Reduction Strategy for England was published in March 2004 and sets out the Government’s plans for tackling alcohol-related harms. Trusts have a key role to play in delivering this strategy, both in terms of tackling the problems that can arise from alcohol misuse and supporting a partnerships response to incidents of alcohol related crime.
The NHS is also directly affected by crime. An estimated 116,000 NHS staff were the victims of violence and aggression in 2002 – 2003. Property damage, risk, liability or injury to staff costs between £300 million and £678 million per year.