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The gun lobby has been getting very excited about the UK's recent crime statistics. It is being suggested that because violent crime is on the increase in this country the handgun ban introduced in 1997 isn't working.

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Introduction

The gun lobby has been getting very excited about the UK's recent crime statistics. It is being suggested that because violent crime is on the increase in this country the handgun ban introduced in 1997 isn't working. This is simply false. The following facts may help to put the record straight. The overall rise in crimes of violence is 16% and the rise in robbery 26% so it is true that we seem to be becoming a more violent society generally. This is a matter of great concern to us all. There is evidence that the biggest growth is in street muggings related to the theft of mobile phones. Guns were used in only 4.7% of robberies in 1999 and 4.4% in 1998 so the problem is to a very large extent one of non-firearms crime. Our tight gun laws are undoubtedly responsible for the relatively rare use of guns in crime. Handgun homicide figures are very low and since 1980 have fluctuated from a low of 7 in 1988, through to 35 in 1993 and a previous high of 39 in1997. ...read more.

Middle

Police recorded crime statistics, after adjustment to take account of new recording rules, have decreased by 1 per cent in the period July to September 2002. British Crime Survey data for the 12 months to September 2002, shows: * 7 per cent drop in all crime * 2 per cent drop in violent crime * 7 per cent drop in domestic burglary * 14 per cent drop in vehicle theft British Crime Survey trends since 1997 indicate: * All crime down 27 per cent * Burglary down 39 per cent * Vehicle thefts down 32 per cent * Violent crime down 26 per cent Headline figures for recorded crime are still significantly affected by the National Crime Recording Standard (NCRS), introduced formally in all police forces in April 2002. It is a more victim centred method of recording crime which will lead to more reliable, transparent statistics and will greatly assist the police to analyse and address the problems faced by our communities. The quarterly figures include: * 28 per cent increase in violence against the person (4 per cent after adjustment for recording changes) ...read more.

Conclusion

or dealing with cases promptly and efficiently (39 per cent). * Only 36 per cent were confident the criminal justice system is effective in reducing crime and 34 per cent believe it meets the needs of victims. The Home Secretary recently introduced the Criminal Justice Bill, part of a radical and wide-ranging programme of reform of the Criminal Justice System with a clear focus on fighting and reducing crime. Homicide statistics show that 858 deaths were initially recorded as homicide in 2001/2, an increase of 1 per cent on 2000/1. Firearms were used in 12 per cent of homicides, an increase of 32 per cent (23 cases) on 2000/01. A Home Office research report, 'Reducing Homicide' also published today examines ways to reduce homicide in the UK drawing on international research and other literature. Firearms, excluding air weapons, were used in 9,974 recorded offences in 2001/2 - an increase of 35 per cent compared to 2000/1. In 24 per cent of these offences the firearm was fired. Air weapons were used in 12,340 recorded crimes, a rise of 21 per cent compared to 2000/01. In 95 per cent of these offences the air weapon was fired. ...read more.

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