Ruffley: 'Why has Suffolk gun crime rocketed by an appalling 1000 percent?'

Monday, 2 July, 2007

David Ruffley MP has today spoken of his alarm at new House of Commons figures which reveal that, between 1997 and 2006, gun crime in Suffolk has increased by over 1000 percent.

In 1997 there were 5 crimes recorded by Suffolk Constabulary in which firearms were reported to have been used. In 2005/06, the latest year for which figures are available, this figure stood at 58.

Nationally there has been a 126 percent increase in gun crime since 1997.

Increase in gun crime 1997- 2005/06 in the East of England (percentage):

Bedfordshire 140%

Cambridgeshire 0%

Essex 383%

Hertfordshire 153%

Norfolk 45%

Suffolk 1060%

David 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 2005/06 gives me real cause for concern.

'I have taken the matter up with Simon Ash, the Chief Constable of Suffolk Police, and asked what explanation he has for this increase.

'It would appear, on face value, that Suffolk has an increasing problem with gun crime. The county, on average, sees over one crime a week involving the use of firearms.

'Although we are talking about reasonably small numbers, the fact that Suffolk has gone from having 5 gun crimes a year to nearly 60, in such a short period of time, tells me that more needs to be done to combat gun crime in our county.

'The people of Suffolk deserve to feel safe as they conduct their day to day lives and they will derive little comfort from these figures.'