Dozens of gun offences recorded in district by Avon and Somerset Constabulary


- Credit: Archant

Police recorded nearly 60 gun offences in Avon and Somerset last year, Home Office data reveals.

The news follows a national rise in gun crime, where nearly 10,000 offences involving firearms were recorded last year across England and Wales, according to the Office for National Statistics.

Across the countries, 9,787 offences were recorded, which, despite the rise, is nearly 60 per cent lower than the level recorded at its peak in 2003-04.

Avon and Somerset Constabulary recorded 58 crimes with a gun in 2018-19, and the incidents include offences where a firearm has been fired or used as a blunt instrument or threat.

Offences with low-powered weapons such as BB guns and pepper spray are included in police figures, alongside shotguns, handguns and rifles.

However, with the data excluding crimes involving air weapons, the real number may be higher.

There were three firearms offences per 100,000 people in the district of Avon and Somerset, below the national average of 11.

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A spokesman from Avon and Somerset Constabulary said: "We are pleased the number of firearm offences across the force area continues to fall [year on year since April 2010-March 2011], and the figure is at its lowest level for more than a decade."

According to ONS, year on year, figures for gun crimes in Avon and Somerset fluctuate from 116 recorded offences in April 2007-March 2008 down to 58 in April 2018-March 2019.

The spokesman said: "Proportionally, Avon and Somerset has one of the lowest rates of firearm offences in the country, and we remain committed to tackling violent crime and keeping the public safe.

"The launch of violence reduction units in the district, led by the local authorities and working in partnership with police, education, health, social services and communities, allows us to work together to protect people from harm and reassure them in the communities they live in.

"We also have a range of youth intervention, diversion and engagement schemes under way, led by officers and staff in our communities, to break down barriers, strengthen resilience and build stronger, safer places to live."