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Gang-related shootings ‘misrepresent’ overall gun crime

GROWING PROBLEM: Some of the guns handed in during a recent Met Police gun amnesty

A REPORT published recently says that gang-related gun crime in the capital may be dropping.

Gun Crime in London, published last week by the London Assembly Police and Crime Committee said while gun crime is rising, the proportion that is gang related – often thought of as associated with gun crime – may not be.

The report also highlights that the supply of guns into the UK from abroad is a growing concern, particularly as the use of technology and ‘the dark web’ is changing the way people can access weapons. A small, but increasing number of weapons are originating from Eastern Europe, particularly decommissioned guns, which are easily converted into a viable weapon, but there is still a lot of traffic from the US.

According to the authors of the report this trend should challenge traditional understanding of the drivers of this type of crime, and should prompt the need among politicians and those who work with young people on this issue for a much more wide-ranging response.

Steve O’Connell AM, Chairman of the London Assembly Police and Crime Committee, said: “The number of gun crime offences in the capital is small, but nonetheless it is a crime that can cause devastating effects. The supply of guns from abroad being aided by new technology is a trend that needs to be stopped in its tracks.

“And the worrying trend that both offenders and victims of gun crime are getting younger means we must provide more information to young people about using guns in society.”

Some of the other main findings of the report were:

• Gun crime offences have risen over the past three years.

• Both offenders and victims of gun crime are getting younger.

• Guns are most often used in vio- lence against the person and robbery offences.

O’Connell said: “The Mayor is well placed to support action to reduce the numbers of guns on the streets and the risk of individuals becoming involved in gun crime. The question is whether guns require a distinct approach to prevention and intervention. We cannot allow it to evolve into the kind of situation the capital faces with other serious vio- lence, most notably knife crime.”

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