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Crime and victims

Gun crime

Gun-related crime kills, maims and intimidates, and is frequently linked to gang activity and the illegal drugs trade in the UK. We are committed to tackling gun crime to ensure the safety and security of all British citizens.

A snapshot of gun crime

Contrary to public perception, the overall level of gun crime in England and Wales is very low – less than 0.5% of all crime recorded by the police.

Facts & figures

  • The number of overall offences involving firearms fell by 13% in 2006/07 compared to the previous year. 
  • Firearms were involved in 566 serious or fatal injuries in 2006/07, compared to 645 the previous year - a drop of 12%.
  • The number of armed robberies involving guns dropped by 3%
  • There were 13% fewer serious and fatal injuries related to gun crimes in 2006/07.
  • The number of reported crimes involving imitation guns dropped by 15% in 2006/07.
  • The number of reported crimes involving air guns dropped by 15% in 2006/07 over 2005/06.

(Source: Crime in England and Wales 2006/07; Homicide, Firearm Offences and Intimate Violence 2006-07.)

What we’re doing about gun crime

Strengthening the law

We have:

  • introduced a minimum five-year sentence for people convicted of possessing an illegal firearm
  • made it an offence to possess an air weapon or imitation firearm in public without legal authority or reasonable excuse
  • increased the age limit for possession of air rifles to 17
  • prohibited certain air weapons that are easily converted to fire live ammunition

The Violent Crime Reduction Act 2006:

  • targets imitation firearms – by making it illegal to manufacture or sell imitation firearms that could be mistaken for real firearms, strengthening  sentences for carrying imitation firearms, and creating tougher manufacturing standards so imitations can’t be converted to fire real ammunition
  • reduces illegal use of air weapons – by increasing the age limit for buying or firing air weapons without supervision

Targeting illegal firearm supplies

We’re cutting off the supply of firearms into the country by tightening security on import routes and international mail, and monitoring online firearm suppliers.

Tackling the rise in gun culture

We established the Connected (new window) programme to support local community groups in their fight against gun crime.

What you can do about gun crime

Concerned about gun crime?  Here’s what you can do: 

  • if you see people using or carrying illegal firearms, report it immediately to the police, or to CrimeStoppers (new window)
  • visit the Connected (new window) website to find out how you can get involved in community projects to fight gun crime

See also

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