§ 6. Mr. Goodhart
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many offences involving the use of firearms were committed within the Metropolitan Police area in 1958, 1968 and 1978.
§ Mr. Merlyn Rees
In 1969, the earliest year for which comparable figures are available, 483 indictable offences in which firearms were reported to have been used were recorded in the Metropolitan Police district. In 1977, the corresponding figure was 1,526. The figure for 1978 is not yet available.
§ Mr. Goodhart
Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that 20 years ago, or even 10 years ago, hardly any professional criminals carried firearms, but that last year firearms were carried in 80 per cent. of the attacks on banks, betting shops and 659 security guards? Does he think that the total abolition of the death penalty has been a major cause of that regrettable occurrence?
§ Mr. Townsend
Will the right hon. Gentleman confirm that the shotgun is now the preferred weapon of the serious criminal in many of the metropolises? Will he confirm also that current firearms control legislation is totally inadequate, and that, if it had not been for the Lib-Lab pact, the Government would have already taken steps?