Gun crime

The changing face of gun crime in the capital

23 January 2018

The number of guns on London’s streets is unclear and the supply of guns into the UK from abroad is a growing concern. 

A report published today by the London Assembly Police and Crime Committee – ‘Gun crime in London [1] points out that the patterns and trends around gun use may be changing.

Gun crime is rising, but the proportion that is gang related—often thought of as associated with gun crime—may not be. This, the report suggests, might challenge our traditional understanding of the drivers of this crime, and will likely prompt the need for a much more wide-ranging response. 

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 de-commissioned guns, which are easily converted into a viable weapon, but there is still a lot of traffic from the U.S.[2]

Main points from the report include:

  • 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 violence against the person and robbery offences.

Chairman of the Police and Crime Committee, Steve O’Connell AM, said:

“The number of gun crime offences in the capital is small, but nonetheless it is a crime that can cause devastating effects for victims, families and communities.

The supply of guns from abroad being aided by new technology is a trend that needs to be stopped in its tracks.The changing nature of gun possession and use will also need careful monitoring and may prompt the need for a change in the approach to intervention.

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 the consequences of carrying a gun, and what to do if they find one or are aware of someone possessing one.

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 for the Mayor is whether guns require a distinct and specific approach to prevention and intervention. What we cannot do is allow it to evolve into the kind of situation the capital faces with other serious violence, most notably knife crime.”

Follow us @LondonAssembly and tweet about the report using #AssemblyPolice and #GunCrimeLondon

Notes to editors

  1. ‘Gun crime in London’ report (attached).
  2. Andy French, Meeting of the Police and Crime Committee, 5 October 2017
  3. Steve O’Connell AM, Chairman of the Police and Crime Committee, is available for interview – see contact details below. 
  4. As well as investigating issues that matter to Londoners, the London Assembly acts as a check and a balance on the Mayor.

For media enquiries, please contact Lisa Lam on 020 7983 4067.  For out of hours media enquiries, call 020 7983 4000 and ask for the London Assembly duty press officer.  Non-media enquiries should be directed to the Public Liaison Unit on 020 7983 4100.

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