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Firearms: Crime

Volume 457: debated on Tuesday 6 March 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department following the case of Campbell, reference 2006 EWCA Crim 726, numbered 200505869/A1 in the Court of Appeal, 9 March 2006, in relation to a person aged 18, 19 or 20 years convicted of a relevant firearms offence, whether the court is obliged under s51A(4)(a)(i) to impose a sentence of imprisonment of five years; whether such a sentence is prohibited by 589(1) of the Powers of Criminal Courts (Sentencing) Act 2000; when he intends to bring in section 61 of the Criminal Justice and Court Services Act 2000; and if he will make a statement. (124489)

[holding answer 1 March 2007]: It was announced on 22 February that an order would be laid to amend section 51A of the Firearms Act 1968 to ensure that 18 to 20-year-olds are subject to a mandatory minimum sentence of five years’ imprisonment for unlawful possession of a prohibited firearm.

Section 61 of the Criminal Justice and Courts Services Act 2000 abolishes the sentence of detention in a young offender institution. Policy on young adult offenders in custody is currently under review. A variety of stakeholders have been and are being consulted. No decision has yet been taken on the way forward, but we hope to announce our plans in the reasonably near future.

In addition, we also announced on 22 February during the Prime Minister's summit on gun crime and gangs that we would conduct a review of legislation in relation to gangs; this will include sentencing issues relating to young offenders.