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Gun Crime

Volume 453: debated on Monday 27 November 2006

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what steps he is taking to reduce the number of gun crimes in England and Wales; and if he will make a statement. (103272)

The Government are taking action on a number of fronts to deal with gun crime through tougher legislation, law enforcement and community engagement. The Criminal Justice Act 2003 introduced a minimum five year sentence for unlawful possession of a prohibited firearm. The Violent Crime Reduction Act 2006, which received royal assent on 8 November, toughens the legislation further. It includes a ban on the sale, manufacture and importation of realistic imitation firearms, a new offence of using someone to mind a weapon and additional restrictions on the sale and use of air weapons.

We consider that working with communities is central to tackling gun crime.

We are supporting community groups through our Connected Fund which was established in 2004 to provide grants to local community-led groups working on gun crime, knife crime and gang-related issues. To date the Fund has supported 300 organisations. We have also supported national projects such as the “Don't Trigger” Campaign run by Urban Concepts and Mothers Against Guns.

The National Ballistics Intelligence Programme, a state-of-the-art firearms forensic capability which is being developed with Government backing, will provide tactical and strategic information to inform enforcement operations and longer-term policy work.

The Government support the work of dedicated, intelligence-led gun crime operations such as Operation Trident in London and Operation X-Caliber in Greater Manchester, Ventara in the West Midlands and Stealth in Nottinghamshire, which are producing good results.