House of Commons Library

Firearm Crime Statistics: England & Wales

Published Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Statistics on the number of police recorded firearm offences are published by the ONS in the Crime in England & Wales bulletin. Gun related crime statistics are published by the ONS in the Offences involving the use of weapons: data tables.

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Statistics on the number of police recorded firearm offences are published by the ONS in the Crime in England & Wales bulletin. Gun related crime statistics are published by the ONS in the Offences involving the use of weapons: data tables.

Data for Scotland

Recorded firearm offences

In the year ending 31 March 2017, there were a total of 6,375 firearm offences recorded in the England & Wales. This was an increase of 23% compared with 5,182 offences recorded during the year ending 31 March 2016.

Types of firearm offences by firearm type

In the year ending 31 March 2017, Criminal damage and Violence Against Person (VATP) offence categories each accounted for just over 27% of firearm offences (including air and non-air firearms). Robbery and Possession of Weapons offences represented 17% and 13% respectively.

 

Type of firearms used

Since 2008/09, handguns have remained the most commonly used non-air firearm type, accounting for 42% of non-air firearm offences in 2016/17. The use of Imitation firearms has increased the most among non-air firearm offences, from 18% of all non-air firearm offences in 2008/09 to 28% in 2015/16, before falling to 26% in 2016/17. Rifles have remained the least common non-air firearms type accounting for around 1% of all offences over the period.

Firearm offences by Police Force Area*

In 2016/17, the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) recorded the largest number of non-air firearm offences accounting for just over 34% of all non-air firearm offences in England & Wales. The MPS also had highest rate of non-air firearm offences per 100,000 population (24) followed by the West Midlands police with 22 offences.

 

 

 

 

 

Data and reporting practices

In reporting the number of firearm offences, it is not always possible to ascertain whether a real firearm was actually used. Unless a weapon is fired or recovered by the police following a criminal offence, in many cases there is no way of knowing conclusively whether the firearm was real or an imitation, or whether it was loaded or unloaded at the time of the offence. Moreover, the categorisation of firearms will sometimes be strongly reliant on the description given to the police by victims or witnesses, or upon other evidence. Some offences also involve the use of imitation weapons, while others involve the use of a ‘supposed firearm’.

It is worth noting that It has been suggested that some of the recent increases in recorded crime are due to “improved crime recording practices and processes leading to a greater proportion of reports of crime being recorded”[1]

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[1]     ONS, Crime in England and Wales: year ending Mar 2016, 21 July 2016

* Excluding City of London police

 

 

Commons Briefing papers CBP-7654

Authors: Grahame Allen; Lukas Audickas

Topics: Crime, Crimes of violence, Offensive weapons

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