Violent crime levels rocket across Barrow amid shocking poverty figures
LEVELS of violent crime shot up in Barrow last year, as the borough was rated one of the most poverty-stricken parts of the North West.
The area was shown to have recorded more crimes of violence against the person than the average for England during 2015 - at 20.5 per 1,000 people - putting it on a par with Manchester and above Liverpool which recorded 17 offences per 1,000 residents.
The information was revealed yesterday as the latest scores on a range of health-related issues were published by Public Health England.
The data is designed to illustrate the general health of areas and to highlight trends which need to be tackled by local health bosses.
Copeland also fared badly in the most recent health profiles as the district was shown to have edged ahead of Blackpool for the number of under-18s hospitalised by alcohol with 104 per 100,000 - almost three times higher than the England average of 36.
Both areas also displayed high rates of hospital stays for self-harm - with 358 emergency admissions per 100,000 people for Barrow and 315 per 100,000 in Copeland against an average for England of 191.
The bleak picture painted by the data continued with smoking-related deaths for both areas scoring above the England average per 100,000 residents - with 348 in Barrow and 323 in Copeland.
In contrast, neighbouring South Lakeland, which includes Ulverston, scored favourably in almost all categories when placed against the averages for the North West and country-wide.
Residents of the district endured just 8.6 violent crimes per 1,000 people, the rate of hospital admissions due to self harm was 184.3 per 100,000 and there were 216 smoking-related deaths per 100,000.
Barrow borough councillor Michael Cassells said the authority was engaged in proactive work to look into the causes of poverty and ill health across the area.
Cllr Cassells, spokesman for health and wellbeing, said: "We have recognised for some time that there is a link between alcohol and higher rates of crime.
"We are committed to supporting local organisations that help people tackle the underlying causes of poor health and other issues - such as The Well and Women's Community Matters - and we will be raising these latest figures at the next health and wellbeing forum."