Gun violence rises but 'crime stable'

Gun crime rises four per cent
Gun crime rises four per cent

Politicians have reacted with alarm to the news firearms offences have risen by four per cent.

The rise is set against a generally stable level of crime overall.

Provisional statistics show gun crime rose by four per cent in the year to September 2007.

Despite this the number of fatalities fell from 55 to 49, including high-profile cases such as the murder of 11-year-old Rhys Jones in Liverpool.

Serious injuries from firearms fell by 16 per cent.

Liberal Democrat home affairs spokesman Chris Huhne said violent, and in particular gun crime, is "still far higher" than ten years ago.

Mr Huhne challanged the government to do more: "Police should be devoting more time to stop- and-searches for knives and guns, and the government needs to clamp down with a new effort to stop gun smuggling.

"Nine times more officials are allocated to tackling cigarette smuggling than gun smuggling, which is a crazy set of priorities."

The full gun crime statistics for 2007 will be published at the end of the month and will include some of the 27 teenagers murdered by guns or knives in London last year.

The Home Office maintains that violent crime is down overall, despite the rise in firearm offences.

Recorded crime in England and Wales fell by nine per cent between July and September.

The British Crime Survey (BCS), considered to be a more reliable measure, found crime was stable, based on interviews for the year ending September 2007.

The police reported 23,000 fewer violent crimes against the person over the quarter, while the BCS found violent crime was stable.

Of recorded crimes, burglary was down eight per cent, violence against the person down eight per cent and robbery down 17 per cent.

Drug offences were up by 21 per cent, but the Home Office attributes this to more police issuing warnings over cannabis use.

According to the BCS the risk of being a victim of crime has fallen from 24 per cent to 34 per cent over the year.


Politics @ Lunch

Friday lunchtime. Your Inbox. It's a date.

Newsletter update