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Firearms: Sentencing

Volume 481: debated on Monday 20 October 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many people have been convicted for possession of an illegal firearm in each of the last 10 years, broken down by police force area. (227526)

The number of persons found guilty at all courts for firearm possession offences in England and Wales, by police force area for the years 1997 to 2006 can be viewed in the following table.

These data are on the principal offence basis. The figures given in the table on court proceedings relate to persons for whom these offences were the principal offence for which they were dealt with. When a defendant has been found guilty of two or more offences, the offence selected is the one for which the heaviest penalty is imposed. Where the same disposal is imposed for two or more offences, the offence selected is the offence for which the statutory maximum penalty is the most severe.

Court proceedings data for 2007 will be available in November 2008.

Number of persons found guilty at all courts for offences relating to possessing firearm, ammunition, or shotgun without a certificate or possessing or distributing prohibited weapons or ammunition in England and Wales, by police force area for the years 1997 to 20061, 2, 3, 4

Found guilty

Force

1997

1998

1999

2000

2001

2002

2003

2004

2005

2006

Avon and Somerset

54

52

19

21

31

24

25

24

26

25

Bedfordshire

15

9

5

4

6

10

10

10

7

4

Cambridgeshire

16

23

17

12

2

8

14

8

6

15

Cheshire

18

8

11

9

7

8

8

23

13

18

City of London

1

4

1

1

2

4

2

5

1

1

Cleveland

15

15

9

10

7

8

15

12

13

9

Cumbria

7

13

4

12

8

3

4

10

10

5

Derbyshire

24

15

30

23

13

19

12

23

21

21

Devon and Cornwall

38

29

25

14

18

18

24

22

20

28

Dorset

8

8

9

8

8

11

13

9

11

8

Durham

8

12

10

16

9

8

14

18

28

17

Essex

46

51

29

32

19

32

23

36

28

34

Gloucestershire

19

16

7

11

14

10

11

11

8

7

Greater Manchester

85

122

76

76

69

61

72

126

122

107

Hampshire

47

35

27

22

15

32

29

22

42

28

Hertfordshire

18

14

11

17

11

10

9

22

24

26

Humberside

13

14

12

8

16

16

14

23

25

19

Kent

28

42

27

32

32

26

29

23

21

29

Lancashire

35

39

16

26

24

17

20

30

32

22

Leicestershire

30

35

23

37

32

18

26

20

28

21

Lincolnshire

14

21

13

21

17

14

7

9

10

8

Merseyside

37

43

26

19

24

26

34

62

75

67

Metropolitan Police

323

328

254

202

261

295

350

317

337

380

Norfolk

20

20

20

11

12

14

6

18

13

17

North Yorkshire

34

47

15

19

13

4

11

4

11

11

Northamptonshire

10

7

17

9

4

7

4

6

9

3

Northumbria

64

59

66

43

49

31

52

47

47

42

Nottinghamshire

22

35

19

23

20

19

39

27

29

39

South Yorkshire

34

39

42

30

16

33

27

35

40

48

Staffordshire

23

25

8

3

15

33

16

18

20

14

Suffolk

10

6

11

10

7

6

14

12

10

12

Surrey

7

7

4

9

13

13

11

11

4

8

Sussex

22

16

17

9

14

13

16

21

22

17

Thames Valley

52

46

37

19

18

27

31

28

25

24

Warwickshire

15

9

9

6

11

9

6

9

7

8

West Mercia

23

17

22

8

15

15

11

15

13

14

West Midlands

105

110

100

82

85

97

84

91

79

88

West Yorkshire

64

90

69

47

38

45

40

63

66

56

Wiltshire

3

10

7

13

9

6

5

8

14

13

Dyfed-Powys

23

20

11

13

11

10

17

10

7

1

Gwent

5

7

8

12

7

8

6

9

6

11

North Wales

22

16

13

11

3

7

7

10

7

11

South Wales

30

19

27

21

28

15

26

26

29

25

Total

1,487

1,553

1,183

1,031

1,033

1,090

1,194

1,333

1,366

1,361

1 These data are on the principal offence basis.

2 Every effort is made to ensure that the figures presented are accurate and complete. However, it is important to note that these data have been extracted from large administrative data systems generated by the courts and police forces. As a consequence, care should be taken to ensure data collection processes and their inevitable limitations are taken into account when those data are used.

3 Staffordshire police force were only able to submit sample data for persons proceeded against and convicted in the magistrates courts for the year 2000. Although sufficient to estimate higher orders of data, these data are not robust enough at a detailed level and magistrates courts data only have been excluded from the table.

4 Includes the following statutes and corresponding offence descriptions:

Firearms Act 1968 (Group I) Sec l(l), as amended by Criminal Justice & Public Order Act 1994, Sec.157, Sch.8 part III. Possessing etc. firearm or ammunition without firearm certificate.

Firearms Act 1968 Sec 2(1) (Group II) as amended by Criminal Justice & Public Order Act 1994, Sec.157 Sch.8 part III. Possessing etc. shot gun without certificate.

Firearms Act, 1968 Sec 5(1) (Group I) as amended by Criminal Justice Act 2003 S.288. Possessing or distributing prohibited weapons or ammunition.

Firearms Act 1968 Sec 5(1)(b) (Group I) as amended by Criminal Justice Act 2003 Sec.288. Possessing or distributing prohibited weapons designed for discharge of noxious liquid etc.

Firearms Act 1968 Sec 5(1A)(a) (Group I) as amended by Criminal Justice Act 2003 Sec.288. Possessing or distributing firearm disguised as other object.

Firearms Act 1968 Sec 5(1A) (b),(c),(d)(e),(f) or (g) as amended by Criminal Justice Act 2003 Sec.288. Possessing or distributing other prohibited weapons.

Source:

Office for Criminal Justice Reform Evidence and Analysis Unit.