Gun crime highest for a decade for four police forces

BBC News | 2/7/2019 | Staff
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Gun crime in four English counties was at its highest for a decade in 2017-18.

West Yorkshire, Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Cheshire police handled more incidents than in any year since 2007-08.

Gun - Crime - England - Wales - Years

Overall gun crime in England and Wales is lower than 10 years ago, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said.

More than one in five victims of firearms offences, excluding air weapons, was aged under 20.

Police - Firearms - Crimes - Areas - Lines

Police believe that firearms crimes in some areas are linked to "county lines", where gangs move drug-dealing operations outside big cities to smaller towns.

The figures, released on Thursday, come alongside statistics showing fatal stabbings at their highest level since records began in 1946.

ONS - Analysis - Police - Forces - Year

The ONS analysis for individual police forces covers the year to the end of March 2018 and showed 6,521 firearms offences, a 2% rise and the fourth increase in a row.

However, previously released national figures for England and Wales showed a decrease in firearm offences in the year to September 2018, although these are not broken down by individual force.

ONS - Levels - Firearm - Offences - %

The ONS said levels of firearm offences are "41% lower than their peak in the year ending March 2006" when there were 11,088 offences.

West Yorkshire Police dealt with 481 incidents of firearms offences, a rise of 10% on the previous year and more than double the figure recorded four years earlier.

Bedfordshire - Police - Incidents - Cambridgeshire

Bedfordshire Police handled 106 incidents and Cambridgeshire recorded 84.

Cheshire recorded 81 offences, a rise of 14% on the previous year.

West - Yorkshire - Police - Assistant - Chief

West Yorkshire Police Assistant Chief Constable Tim Kingsman said: "We've seen a rise in the availability of firearms for use by criminals."

He said police went on 896 firearms operations in 2018, equivalent to two or three a day.

Wiltshire - Number - Firearms - Offences - Air

In Wiltshire the number of firearms offences, excluding air weapons, increased almost fourfold in one year.

There were 39 firearms offences in 2017-18, up from 10 in 2016-17, but lower than...
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