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News Archives: Index

October 7, 2010: Probation Set For Industrial Action

October 5, 2010: Turning Prisoners Into Taxpayers

October 4, 2010: Murder Changes Now In Force

September 20, 2010: Probation Programmes Face Cuts

August 24, 2010: Victorian Poor Law Records Online

August 10, 2010: Justice Job Cuts

July 28, 2010: Prison Violence Growing

July 22, 2010: Police Numbers: Latest Figures

July 22, 2010: New Jurisdiction Rules

July 16, 2010: CCJS On Prison And Probation Spending Under Labour

July 15, 2010: Latest Statistics On Violent And Sexual Crime

July 15, 2010: Latest National Crime Figures

July 15, 2010: New Chief Prisons Inspector

July 14, 2010: Hard Times Ahead For Prisons: Anne Owers

July 14, 2010: Prison Does Not Work: Ken Clarke

July 13, 2010: Criminal Justice Reform: Sentencing and Rehabilitation

July 13, 2010: Criminal Justice Reform Priorities

July 12, 2010: What Price Public Protection, Asks Probation Chief Inspector

July 12, 2010: NOMS has failed, says Napo

July 10, 2010: IPCC To Investigate Death of Raoul Moat

July 9, 2010: Women In Prison: New Report

July 9, 2009: Unjust Deserts: Imprisonment for Public Protection

July 8, 2010: Police Search Powers Change

July 7, 2010: Make 'Legal High' Illegal, Says ACMD

July 2, 2010: Failing Children In Prison

July 2, 2010: Police Buried Under a Blizzard of Guidance: HMIC

July 1, 2010: Freedom To Change The Law?

June 30, 2010: A New Outlook On Penal Reform?

June 30, 2010: Revolving Door Of Offending Must Stop, Says Clarke

June 30, 2010: Ken Clarke: Speech on Criminal Justice Reform

June 29, 2010: No More Police Targets

June 26, 2010: Family Intervention Projects Questioned

June 25, 2010: Cutting Criminal Justice

June 24, 2010: Napo on Sex Offenders Report

June 23, 2010: Closing Courts: The Cuts Begin

June 23, 2010: Strategy To Tackle Gangs

June 15, 2010: Courts and Mentally Disordered Offenders

June 8, 2010: Working With Muslims in Prison

June 1, 2010: Your Chance To Nominate a QC

Firearms Offences

What do we mean when we refer to firearms offences?

Firearms are generally split into two main types: those that use a controlled explosion to fire a projectile, and those that use air. Types of firearm include handguns, shotguns, rifles, imitation weapons and air weapons.

How many offences in England and Wales involve the use of firearms?

Offences involving the use of a firearm consitute a small proportion of recorded crime. In 2008/09, firearms were used in just 0.3 per cent of all recorded crimes, or one in every 330.

Overall, firearms were reported to have been used in 14,250 recorded crimes in 2008/09, an 18 per cent decrease on 2007/08, and the fifth consecutive annual fall.

Is the use of firearms in crime growing?

No. Firearm offences, excluding air weapons, decreased by 17 per cent, to 8,208. In fact, firearms offences have fallen since peaking at 24,094 in 2003/04, and have decreased by 41 per cent since then.

How many people are killed due to the use of firearms in the course of an offence?

There were 39 fatal injuries resulting from offences that involved firearms in 2008/09. This was the lowest rate recorded by the police in 20 years. Fatal and serious injuries also decreased by 20 per cent (from 541 in 2007/08 to 432 in 2008/09).

Overall, firearm offences involving any type of injury were down by 41 per cent in 2008/09, from 4,164 in 2007/08 to 2,458 in 2008/09.

What type of firearms are used in offending?

Handguns were used in 4,275 offences during 2008/09 (an increase of 2 per cent on 2007/08).

How likely is it that offenders will open fire if they are armed?

Firearms (with the exception of air weapons), were fired in 33 per cent of the offences in which they were involved. The chances of a weapon being fired varies by weapon type.  Handguns were fired in ten per cent of the recorded offences in which they were involved, and used as a threat in 83 per cent of offences. Shotguns were fired in 41 per cent of cases.

Is the use of firearms during robberies becoming more frequent?

The number of firearm robberies fell by 10 per cent in 2008/09.

Where in England and Wales are firearms most likely to be used?

Firearm offences were geographically concentrated in just three police force areas: Metropolitan, Greater Manchester and West Midlands. Sixty per cent of all non-air weapon firearm offences in England and Wales in 2008/09 occurred in these three police force areas(although just under a quarter of the country's population live in these three areas).

Source: Homicides, Firearm Offences and Intimate Violence 2008/09: Supplementary Volume 2 to Crime in England and Wales 2008/09 (Second Edition) published 2010 published by the Home Office