[holding answer 27 February 2007]: As announced at the Prime Minister’s Summit on guns and gangs on 22 February, we are tackling gun crime with a three-point plan, focusing on:
Policing—ensuring the police are equipped to tackle gun crime;
Powers—giving the police and courts the powers to deal with offenders; and
Prevention—empowering communities to take action themselves to prevent gun crime and gang culture and offering support to parents to challenge their children’s behaviour.
This comprehensive approach draws together the broad range of work currently under way including tough new gun laws, intelligence-driven policing initiatives and community-led projects and will be taken forward by the Home Office Round Table on Guns, Gangs and Knives which is chaired by my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary.
In April we will introduce a new offence of ‘using someone to mind a weapon’, meaning that people who pass weapons to girlfriends, younger siblings or other gang members will still face prosecution. People should not think they can get away with passing off their gun to someone else. Unlawful possession of a prohibited firearm means five years in jail, and this will now also apply to people who use others to look after their weapons for them. This measure was passed in the Violent Crime Reduction Act 2006 and will become an offence this spring.
ACPO are already leading work on issues around the international market in firearms and supply, building up a national intelligence picture of the scale and nature of the problem around guns and gangs and working with individual forces to tackle problems proactively and robustly.