HC Deb 17 November 1966 vol 736 cc608-9
9. Sir Richard Glyn

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many police officers have been threatened or attacked with firearms in the 12 months to the last convenient date; how many have suffered wounds and how many have been fatally injured; and if he will give comparable figures for the preceding 12 months and for the 12 months ending October, 1963.

Mr. Roy Jenkins

I will, with permission, circulate a table in the OFFICIAL REPORT.

Sir Richard Glyn

Would the right hon. Gentleman agree that those figures show that there has been a marked increase in the use of firearms by criminals in the last two years, since capital punishment has, in effect, been suspended? Would he further agree that this is exactly what the police have for years and years prophesied would happen if ever murder by shooting ceased, in practice, to be a capital offence?

Mr. Jenkins

I agree that there has been a marked and, to me, most disturbing increase, but I would not agree with the exact period the hon. Gentleman mentioned, nor with the deduction he drew from it, for it appears that the worst increase was between 1963 and 1964.

Mr. Molloy

Does not my right hon. Friend think that there should be more stringent penalties imposed for just carrying firearms, without the court needing proof that the firearms were being carried with the intent to do someone some harm?

Mr. Jenkins

There are penalties for the unauthorised carrying of a firearm, and these were substantially increased in the Firearms Act, 1965. It is for the courts to decide how strongly they apply the penalties, but I think the intention of Parliament was made clear when it greatly increased the penalties in 1965.

Following is the table:

1963 1964 1965 9 months to 30th September, 1966
Number of police officers at whom shots were fired 6 15 31 26
Number of police officers wounded as a result 1 1 7 3
Number of police officers killed as a result. 1 3
Number of police officers who were menaced by firearms 37 61 65 87

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