§ Lord Patten
asked Her Majesty's Government:
How many firearms offences were committed in the 12 months before the coming into force of the Firearms (Amendment) Act 1997 and the Firearms Amendment (No. 2) Act 1997; and how many were committed in the 12 months afterwards. [HL3959]
§ Lord Bassam of Brighton
The readily available information relates to the period nine months before and nine months after the prohibition of the larger calibre handguns (those in excess of 22 calibre) by the Firearms (Amendment) Act 1997 on 1 July 1997. (The smaller calibre handguns were prohibited by the Firearms (Amendment) (No. 2) Act 1997 on 1 February 1998).
In England and Wales 3,976 notifiable offences were recorded by the police in which firearms, other than air weapons, were reported to have been used in the period 1 October 1996 to 30 June 1997, and 3,703 in the period 1 July 1997 to 31 March 1998. Similar information is not available centrally for air weapons offences, as only annual returns are made by police forces.
In Scotland there were 354 crimes and offences recorded by the police in which a firearm other than an air weapon was alleged to have been used in the period 1 October 1996 to 30 June 1997, and 268 in the period 1 July 1997 to 31 March 1998. Neither of the Firearms Amendment Acts apply to Northern Ireland.