UK firearm offences see greatest drop in seven years

The number of firearm offences in the UK saw its greatest reduction in seven years in the year ending March 2020, new Office of National Statistics (ONS) data has revealed.

With 600 fewer offences recorded by police than the previous year, a 6% drop, it is the greatest year-by-year reduction in offences since 2013.

The figures cover any offence recorded by police where a firearm has been fired, used as a blunt instrument, or as a threat.

Gill Marshal-Andrews, Chair of the Gun Control Network, which campaigns for tighter gun laws, said: “This trend is, is obviously one which is very, very pleasing.

“By and large gun crime is holding steady and gun deaths are not increasing or decreasing.

“That’s a great achievement because we see gun crime increasing quite significantly in many parts of the world, particularly, of course, in America.”

In the past five years, firearm offences excluding air weapons have increased by around 25%, from 5,182 to 6,622, whereas offences involving air arms has decreased by nearly 15% to 2,784.

Since 2003, annual offences involving handguns have more than halved, going from over 5,500 to just over 2,600.

However, Marshal-Andrews stressed that year-by-year data can have discrepancies due to the way data is collected.

She said: “Nearly a third of all firearms offences involve air guns, and sometimes the incidents are classified as anti-social behaviour rather than as a crime.

“There are variations in the way different forces record gun crime across the country.”

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