Serious violence resulting in injury has plummeted in England and Wales over the past five years, according to a study. Almost 26,000 fewer people were treated in major accident and emergency departments in England in 2004 - 13 per cent down on 2000. There were 2,800 fewer victims treated in Wales, a fall of 20 per cent, researchers from Cardiff University reported.

The results run counter to Conservative claims of a big rise in violence. Those claims are based on violent offences recorded by the police, which have been rising steadily and reached almost 300,000 in the last three months of 2004.

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