Gun crime soaring

Friday, 6 July, 2007

GUN crime in Suffolk is increasing at an 'alarming' rate and is double the rate of Norfolk, an MP has warned.

Fifty-eight firearms offences were recorded in the county in 2005-6 compared to 29 in Norfolk and 34 in Cambridgeshire.

The figures were obtained by Stowmarket and Bury St Edmunds MP David Ruffley who said gun crime had rocketed by more than 1,000 per cent in Suffolk since 1997 when only five incidents were recorded.

The Conservative MP has now written to Suffolk police's new Chief Constable Simon Ash asking him to explain the rise.

Mr Ruffley said: 'The apparent increase in Suffolk gun crime is deeply alarming.

'For Suffolk to have gone from having the lowest level of gun crime in the East of England in 1997 to having nearly twice the level seen in Norfolk and Cambridgeshire in 2005-6 gives me real cause for concern. The county, on average, sees over one crime a week involving the use of firearms.'

Nationally, gun crime has increased by 126pc since 1997.

Acting Detective Chief Superintendent Andy Henwood, of Suffolk police, said: 'This figure is very much in line with the national trend, and includes a small number of incidents where people were hurt or killed by someone using a firearm and other incidents where weapons were used to make threats or were recovered or seized by officers.'