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Firearms

Volume 404: debated on Tuesday 6 May 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) how many firearms have been handed in to police over the past five years in (a) Merseyside, (b) St. Helens, (c) England and (d) London; [108893](2) how many deaths by firearms have occurred in each of the last five years in

(a) Merseyside, (b) St. Helens, (c) England and (d) London per head of population; [108890]

(3) what assessment his Department has made of the number of illegal firearms in circulation in Merseyside; and if he will make a statement; [108891]

(4) how many crimes involving firearms have occurred in each of the last five years in (a) Merseyside, (b) St. Helens, (c) England and (d) London per head of population. [108889]

Details of the number of illegal firearms in circulation by police force area are not collected centrally.Available published data by police area, on the total number of recorded crimes in which firearms (including air weapons) were reported to have been used are given in the table.Information on firearms offences per head of population are not available.

Number of offences involving firearms
YearMerseysideLondonEngland
19975762,93011,816
1998–998563,00513,283
1999–20009144,12316,234
2001–011,0414,26417,083
Information on the number of firearms that have been handed in to police are not routinely collected centrally.Available published data by police force area, on the number of recorded homicide offences in which firearms were reported to have been used are given in the table.

Number of homicide offences involving firearms
YearMerseysideLondonEngland
199732657
1998–9931949
1999–200032462
2000–0132872
Numbers of firearms offences were published on a calendar year basis up to 1997, and on a financial year basis thereafter. The London area refers to the Metropolitan Police and the City of London Police.There was a change of counting rules for recorded crime on 1 April 1998, which will have the effect of increasing the number of crimes counted. Numbers of recorded crimes before and after this date are therefore not directly comparable.As a result of some police forces adopting the principles of the National Crime Recording Standard (NCRS) in advance of its official introduction across England and Wales on 1 April 2002, numbers of offences recorded in 1999–2000 and 2000–01 for England may have been inflated. Both Merseyside and the London forces (Metropolitan Police and City of London Police) adopted the Standard on 1 April 2002, therefore their figures for 2001–02 will not be affected.Details of firearms offences are not collected at a smaller breakdown than police force area.