Thursday, March 31, 2016 11:12 pm
More than 1,500 children in England and Wales, some as young as 10, were arrested by police for suspected gun crimes in the last three years, new figures show.
As one leading politician Tuesday described the findings as “chilling,” the figures reveal the extent of children aged 16 or under arrested for alleged firearm offenses by police in the period between 2013 and January 2016. The figures, obtained under Freedom of Information (FOI) regulations, reveal a 20 percent increase in child gun arrests in the past year.
Figures are collated by individual police forces across Britain, and those forces that responded to the FOI request show 1,549 children were arrested. As a number of police forces did not respond to the survey the figure is likely to be higher. The arrests of children were for suspected crimes involving firearms, air weapons or imitation guns, with more than 500 leading to criminal charges being brought by police.
A spokesman for the National Police Chiefs’ Council said: “Forces across the country and community safety partnerships are working together to prevent young people getting involved in gangs and firearms. This is a key piece of work for all agencies and communities in breaking the cycle of young people becoming involved in gangs and the associated criminality.”
Labor’s shadow policing minister, Jack Dromey described the statistics for child gun crime as chilling, especially with children as young as 10 possessing firearms. He said it called for a serious investigation by the Home Office.
Dromey commented: “We need to learn lessons ranging from tougher penalties for those who supply guns to children to what further steps might be taken to combat gun crime through schools.”