Fears about gun crime data in Suffolk

GUN crime in Suffolk could be a more serious problem than first thought.

Josh Warwick

GUN crime in Suffolk could be a more serious problem than first thought, after it emerged today that the numbers of firearms offences are six times higher than official figures.

While government data states that only 42 gun crimes took place last year in the county, police figures reveal 243 offences were investigated.

The Home Office only collects cases where guns are fired, wielded as a threat or used to pistol whip victims.

However, scores of other offences, including gun-smuggling and illegal possession of firearms, are left out.

Today, Ipswich's Tory MP hopeful, Ben Gummer, blasted the way in which the government collates its crime statistics.

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He said: “One of our policies is to take all Home Office statistics and put them into an independent body.

“People don't believe crime statistics.

“They know their area is getting more dangerous but it does not fit in with what people are being told.

“The fact is that violent crime has gone up in the last decade in Suffolk - knife crime alone by 200 per cent.

“Ipswich is basically a safe place but people are aware that it's getting a bit more aggressive and a bit more frightening.”

Nationally, 5,600 firearms crimes were left out of Home Office figures.

There are five gun offences which are excluded from official stats for being “no harm” crimes - possession of a firearm with intent to commit an offence, using someone to look after a weapon, unlawful possession, unlawful supply or conversion of a firearm, and lack of notification by certificate holders.

A Home Office spokesman said: “Gun crime figures have only ever included offences involving the use of a firearm.

“These counting rules for these figures were drawn up by the Home Office in conjunction with police.”

Are you shocked at the figures? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk