HC Deb 16 November 1982 vol 32 cc87-8W
Mr. Farr

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) if he will publish in the Official Report a table, similar to that published in table 3.12 of "Criminal Statistics England and Wales 1979" but including the information for 1981, related to serious offences in which firearms were reported to have been misappropriated by type of weapon;

(2) why he has excluded from Cmnd. 8668, "Criminal Statistics England and Wales 1981" the information published in table 3.12 of the 1979 statistics, relating to the theft of firearms; and if he will ensure that such information is included in future publications of "Criminal Statistics England and Wales".

Mr. Mayhew

Information previously published but not included in the shortened Command Paper "Criminal Statistics, England and Wales, 1981" (Cmnd. 8668) is either published in the supplementary tables to that volume, copies of which have been placed in the Library of the House, or can usually be obtained on request. The information required to bring up to date table 3.12 of "Criminal Statistics, England and Wales, 1979" (Cmnd. 8098) is as follows:

Notifiable offences recorded by the police in which firearms were reported to have been misappropriated* by type of weapon
England and Wales—number of offences 1980 1981
All weapons 2,706 3,002
Air weapons 1,450 1,536
Shotgun 649 769
Pistol 164 216
Rifle 117 123
Starting gun 102 92
Other weapon 224 266

* "Misappropriated" includes Stolen, Obtained by fraud or forgery or handled dishonestly.

Mr. Farr

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if, in view of the fact that applications for a firearms certificate take over eight weeks to process, and for a shotgun certificate some five weeks, he will seek to secure the more expeditious handling of such applications.

Mr. Mayhew

Such matters are the responsibility of chief officers of police, but, as part of its examination of the administration of the Firearms Act 1968, the forthcoming joint working party of the Home Office and the Association of Chief Police Officers will be considering what improvements could be made to reduce the amount of work undertaken by the police, without impairing the effectiveness of the Act.