British police change emphasis in handling gun crime

After nearly ten years since the latest round of severe restrictions on lawful gun owners, the United Kingdom, with one of the western world’s most prohibitive regimes, is being forced to admit that the measures revolving round the total banning of handguns have been a marked failure in reducing crime. A new approach is being contemplated.


The Sunday Telegraph (link) has published an article by Tom Harper quoting senior police sources as having no idea how many illegal guns are entering the country. At the same time, only a half of those illegal guns taken from criminal hands are ballistically analysed to check whether they have been involved in crimes previously.


This fact notwithstanding, the same report describes how it is well known that illegal guns are circulated within the criminal community, and may be used in numerous crimes at different ends of the country.


The report goes on to foreshadow the founding of a new police unit in the three problem cities of London, Manchester and Birmingham, where gun crime is rife. Its brief will be to accumulate data regarding individual firearms that have been seized by the police. This unit is expected to come into operation during 2008.


Of particular interest is the announcement that the Association of Chief Police Officers is forming a special group to pay particular attention to the most dangerous and prominent 200 gun criminals.


Considering no advantage in lowering crime has ever been noted following the introduction of universal registration and gun bans, this move could prove a welcome change of direction.


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