§ LORD AVEBURY
My Lords, I beg leave to ask the Question which stands in my name on the Order Paper.
§ [The Question was as follows:
§ To ask Her Majesty's Government how many offences involving the use, or threatened use, of shot-guns, were known to the police in England and Wales in the year ended May 1, 1968, and in each of the three years ended May 1, 1969, 1970 and 1971 respectively.]
§ THE MINISTER OF STATE, HOME OFFICE (LORD WINDLESHAM)
My Lords, the following statistics relate to calendar years. The number of indictable offences known to the police in England and Wales in 1968 in which a shot-gun was fired, or presented for use, was 252. The corresponding figure for 1969 is 301 and for 1970 292. Statistics are not yet available for 1971.
§ LORD AVEBURY
My Lords, does not this indicate that there has been some increase in the number of offences involving the use, or the threatened use, of shotguns, notwithstanding the additional controls that were imposed with effect from May 1, 1968? Would not the noble Lord agree that now is the time when a review of this legislation ought to be conducted to see whether the control over shot-guns ought to be assimilated with the laws now applying to rifles and pistols?
§ LORD WINDLESHAM
My Lords, the use of shot-guns in crime is certainly not a matter in which there is room for any complacency, but it will be seen from the figures that I gave that the number of such crimes has remained fairly steady 784 over the last three years. As to a review the noble Lord will know from previous exchanges at Question Time that a review of the whole system of control over firearms, including shot-guns, is taking place at the moment.