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Gun Crime

Volume 405: debated on Thursday 22 May 2003

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20.

What guidelines the Director of Public Prosecutions issues on the prosecution of gun crime. [115016]

When considering a case involving guns, the Crown Prosecution Service is governed by the code for Crown prosecutors. In addition, the DPP has issued guidance to prosecutors relating to the Firearms (Amendment) Act 1997.

I thank my right hon. and learned Friend for that answer. She will be aware that people in Wales and the rest of the UK have been concerned for a long time about gun crime. Does she agree that the recent gun amnesty exercise was very successful, and a step in the right direction? Will she say what more can be done to build on that success?

I am well aware of the widespread concern in Wales and England about the increasing use of guns—by gangs, as part of their business in drugs and organised crime, and by individuals, who now carry guns much more regularly. I know that there is a problem in Wales, but there are also particular problems in London and Manchester. Again, it is a matter of the police and the CPS working together, and of having the right substantive law. In the case of gun crime, it is also a matter of supporting witnesses. It is often very difficult for victims or witnesses to feel that they can come forward, as they fear that they will be intimidated if they give evidence against a gang. We have been working with the Home Office and the police to make sure that people prepared to come forward to enforce the law against guns will be protected by the criminal justice system, in support of prosecutions.