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Gun crime reaches a seven-year high in south-west

Gun crime reaches a seven-year high in south-west

Published by Sarah Yeoman at 8:04am 1st March 2020.

It has been revealed that gun crime hit a seven-year high in Devon and Cornwall last year.

Devon and Cornwall Police recorded 126 offences involving a firearm in 2018-2019, according to Home Office data.

That's the highest number since 2011-12, and a 22% increase from 2017-18.

The incidents include offences where a firearm has been fired, used as a blunt instrument or as a threat.

Offences with low-powered weapons such as BB guns and pepper spray are included in police figures, alongside shotguns, handguns and rifles. However, with the data excluding crimes involving air weapons, the real number may be higher.

It means there were seven firearms offences per 100,000 population in Devon and Cornwall - below the national average of 11.

Pirate FM has asked Devon and Cornwall Police for a statement and is waiting to hear back.

police tape 3

The Gun Control Network is campaigning for progressively tighter controls on guns in the UK.

"Although gun crime has risen it is still nowhere near as high as it was 15 years ago.

"What police forces were doing between 2005 and 2015 was pushing gun crime down. Priorities have shifted towards knife crime and that's why gun problems pop up in a cyclical way.

"There are more guns in Europe than there ever have been. Gun ownership is rising.

"Evidence shows that a lot of gun crime is gang-related."

Peter Squires, Gun Control Network

Mr Squires added that cuts to resources have impacted the ability of police forces to tackle the issue.

man with gun

The Office for National statistics said the rise in firearms crimes could be down to improvements in recording by police forces - with recorded stun gun and pepper spray cases seeing the biggest rises nationally.

The most common crime category involving a firearm last year was violence against the person, followed by criminal damage and robbery.

"We are taking action to make our streets safer and protect people from violence.

"We are recruiting 20,000 new police officers, giving them more powers to take dangerous weapons off our streets and ensuring serious violent and sexual offenders spend longer behind bars.

"The Offensive Weapons Act introduces new laws which will give police extra powers to seize dangerous weapons."

Kit Malthouse, Minister for Crime, Policing and the Fire Service 

You can find the source data here.

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