Prisoners Release

Justice written question – answered on 21st October 2008.

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Photo of Shailesh Vara Shailesh Vara Shadow Deputy Leader of the House of Commons

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many prisoners convicted of knife or gun-related offences served their full sentence in each of the last 10 years, broken down by type of crime.

Photo of Jack Straw Jack Straw The Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice

It is not possible to identify those crimes in which a gun or a knife was used as these will be charged according to the generic offence, for example, murder, manslaughter, wounding, etc. The only statistics available are those for specific weapons related offences, which are largely for possession. The following table shows the number of persons sentenced to immediate custody for indictable offences relating to weapons.

All offenders sentenced to custody serve their full sentence as prescribed by law. A custodial sentence comprises two parts. The first part is spent in custody and the second part is served on licence in the community. In addition, some offenders subject to determinate sentences may benefit from the home detention curfew (HDC), early removal scheme (ERS) or end of custody licence (ECL) scheme, which provide for release earlier than the statutory release date of the sentence under certain circumstances. Certain violent offenders are presumed unsuitable for HDC unless there are exceptional circumstances and are ineligible for ECL. In addition, certain categories of prisoner are currently excluded from ERS, for example, extended sentence prisoners and those subject to sex offender registration. None of these schemes apply to prisoners serving an indeterminate sentence. These sentences do not have a statutory release date and release is determined by the Parole Board.

Persons sentenced( 1) to immediate custody for offences relating to weapons
Offence class 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006
Wounding etc. Possession of firearms etc., with intent to endanger life 122 133 123 66 43 46 46 36 31 31 37
Using etc. firearms or imitation firearms with intent to resist arrest etc. 11 8 7 9 5 5 3 8 6 9 6
Other wounding, etc Possession of offensive weapons without lawful authority or reasonable excuse 401 509 585 554 595 634 787 760 817 829 788
Possessing firearm or imitation firearm at time of committing or being arrested for an offence 12 13 28 23 36 38 46 50 36 39 52
Possessing firearm or imitation firearm with intent to commit indictable offence 48 34 46 49 61 66 59 44 60 30 36
Possession of a firearm or imitation firearm, with intent to cause fear of violence 68 60 67 135 142 195 209 253 252 256 211
Having an article with a blade or point in a public place 56 372 550 534 499 589 766 755 803 965 1,065
Having an article with a blade or point on school premises 3 2 7 3 7 6 12 5 13
Possession of offensive weapons without lawful authority or reasonable excuse on school premises 1 4 5 3 6 3 5 4 4 3 3
Firearms Act Possessing etc. firearms or ammunition without firearm certificate 180 167 110 85 55 61 55 97 92 63 74
Trading in firearms without being registered as a firearms dealer 1 1 1 1 1
Selling firearm to person without a certificate 1 4 1 1 1 1 2
Repairing, testing etc. firearm for person without a certificate 1 1 2
Shortening a shotgun or other smooth bore gun 10 9 4 4 4 1
Conversion of firearms 2 2 1 1 2 7 5 1
Possessing or distributing prohibited weapons or ammunition 108 107 171 138 143 131 176 216 252 242 212
Carrying loaded firearm in public place 31 31 32 17 20 17 31 37 33 29 23
Trespassing with firearm or imitation firearm in a building 1 2 4 2 1 2
Possession of firearms by persons previously convicted of crime 40 45 48 53 55 32 38 38 55 57 46
Failure to notify Police of deactivation, destruction or loss of firearms or ammunition 1
Possessing or distributing prohibited weapons designed for discharge of noxious liquid etc. 27 75 88
Possessing or distributing firearms disguised as other objects 1
Possessing or distributing other prohibited weapons 3 1 2
Knives Act Unlawful marketing or selling of knives 1 1
Publication of any material likely to stimulate or encourage violent behaviour involving use of the knife as a weapon 2
All All offences 1,092 1,503 1,779 1,676 1,669 1,826 2,235 2,312 2,492 2,641 2,662
(1) Principal offence

Notes:

1. These figures have been drawn from administrative data systems.

2. Although care is taken when processing and analysing the returns, the detail collected is subject to the inaccuracies inherent in any large scale recording system.

Source:

OMS Analytical Services, Ministry of Justice

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