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Firearms: Crime

Volume 464: debated on Monday 15 October 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what steps the Government have taken to reduce gun crime since June 2007. (155049)

[holding answer 10 September 2007]: The Government have an ongoing programme of work to tackle gun crime, focusing on the themes of:

Policing—ensuring the police are equipped to tackle gun crime.

Powers—giving the police and courts the powers to deal with offenders.

Prevention—empowering communities to work with local agencies to take action to prevent gun crime and gang culture, and offering support to parents to challenge their children's behaviour.

Nevertheless, there is more that can be done. It was announced on 9 September that the Government, working with the police, other delivery partners and communities, would be taking forward a programme of targeted work in the local areas facing the greatest challenges with respect to gangs and gun crime. The Tackling Gangs Action Programme will focus on neighbourhoods in London, Birmingham, Manchester and Liverpool. Jon Murphy, of Merseyside Police, has been seconded to head up a special team taking forward this work, which will report to a new cross-Government ministerial task force chaired by the Home Secretary.

The task force met for the first time on 19 September and committed to take forward a range of action including using the local area agreement framework to highlight work on guns and gangs at local level; improved data sharing; development of diversionary activities through sport, music and arts; improving measures for witnesses. The on-going programme of work is also informed by the Home Secretary's round table on guns, knives and gangs, which has met nine times since 2003, most recently on 26 June. A further meeting is being planned.

An additional £1 million has been allocated for this work.

The Government have also asked Ken Jones, President of the Association for Chief Police Officers (ACPO), for a report on the scale and nature of the problem in relation to guns and gangs, and proposals for what more the Government, the police and other agencies can do to improve the situation.