Rifles: Crime

Cabinet Office written question – answered on 15th January 2019.

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Photo of Lord Lucas Lord Lucas Conservative

To ask Her Majesty's Government how many crimes recorded in the last five years for which data are available involved the use of rifles; and in each case, (1) what types of rifles were involved, (2) how such rifles were obtained, and (3) what types of crime such rifles were used to commit.

Photo of Lord Lucas Lord Lucas Conservative

To ask Her Majesty's Government how many crimes recorded in the last five years for which data are available involved the use of blades; and in each case, (1) what types of blades were involved, (2) how such blades were obtained, and (3) what types of crime such blades were used to commit.

Photo of Lord Young of Cookham Lord Young of Cookham Lord in Waiting (HM Household) (Whip), Lords Spokesperson (Cabinet Office)

The information requested falls within the responsibility of the UK Statistics Authority. I have asked the Authority to reply.

Dear Lord Lucas,

As National Statistician and Chief Executive of the UK Statistics Authority, I am responding to your Parliamentary Questions asking (a) how many crimes recorded in the last five years for which data are available involved the use of rifles; and in each case, (i) what types of rifles were involved, (ii) how such rifles were obtained, and (iii) what types of crime such rifles were used to commit (HL12712); and (b) how many crimes recorded in the last five years for which data are available involved the use of blades; and in each case, (i) what types of blades were involved, (ii) how such blades were obtained, and (iii) what types of crime such blades were used to commit (HL12713).

Although the data are collected by the Home Office, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) publishes figures on the number of offences recorded by the police involving the use of firearms (including rifles) and knives or sharp instruments.

Table 1 shows the number of offences recorded by the police in England and Wales involving the use of a rifle, in each of the latest five years that data are currently available. These data were published across several releases, the latest of which being Table 9 of the ‘Offences involving the use of weapons: data tables’[1] release for the year ending March 2017. Data for the year ending March 2018 are due to be published on 7 February 2019.

Table 2 shows the latest available data on the number of offences recorded by the police in England and Wales involving the use of a knife or sharp instrument. To provide a consistent time-series, these data exclude offences recorded by Greater Manchester Police, who recently uncovered a technical issue affecting their recording of offences involving knives and sharp instruments. These data were published alongside the ‘Crime in England and Wales: year ending June 2018’ bulletin in Table F3a of ‘Other related tables’[2].

The police recorded knife or sharp instrument offences data are submitted to the Home Office via an additional special collection. This special collection includes the offences: homicide; attempted murder; threats to kill; assault with injury and assault with intent to cause serious harm; robbery; rape; and sexual assault. Although not all offences are included, those selected are thought to cover most offences involving a knife or sharp instrument.

Data are not available in relation to the type of rifle or knife or sharp instrument that was involved in the offences recorded by the police or how the weapon had been obtained by the perpetrator(s).

Yours sincerely,

John Pullinger

Table 1: Offences recorded by the police in England and Wales in which rifles were reported to have been used, by offence group, year ending March 2013 to year ending March 2017[3],[4]

Year

Offence group

Apr ’12 to Mar ‘13

Apr ’13 to Mar ‘142

Apr ’14 to Mar ‘15

Apr ’15 to Mar ‘16

Apr ’16 to Mar ‘17

Homicide

0

1

0

2

1

Attempted murder, assault with intent to cause serious harm and endangering life

2

5

5

2

6

Other violence against the person

6

7

6

6

8

Robbery

9

15

8

8

5

Burglary

1

2

0

0

2

Public fear, alarm or distress

3

2

4

5

2

Possession of weapons

10

15

19

16

20

Other offences, excluding criminal damage

4

2

2

3

3

Criminal damage

8

5

8

6

14

All offences

43

54

52

48

61

Source: Police recorded crime, Home Office

Table 2: Selected violent and sexual offences involving a knife or sharp instrument recorded by the police in England and Wales (excluding Greater Manchester Police), year ending March 2014 to year ending June 2018[5],[6],[7],[8],[9],[10],[11],[12]

Year

Selected violent / sexual offence group

Apr ’13 to Mar ‘14

Apr ’14 to Mar ‘15

Apr ’15 to Mar ‘16

Jul ’16 to Jun ‘17

Jul ’17 to Jun ‘18

Attempted murder

226

258

328

367

316

Threats to kill

1,233

1,564

2,060

2,689

2,967

Assault with injury and assault with intent to cause serious harm

10,915

12,309

14,247

17,728

18,402

Robbery

11,051

9,589

9,832

13,562

16,801

Rape

234

285

310

406

421

Sexual assault

92

120

105

169

162

Total selected offences

23,751

24,125

26,882

34,921

39,069

Homicide

194

179

199

213

263

Total selected offences, including homicide

23,945

24,304

27,081

35,134

39,332

Source: Police recorded crime, Home Office

[1]https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/crimeandjustice/datasets/offencesinvolvingtheuseofweaponsdatatables

[2]https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/crimeandjustice/datasets/crimeinenglandandwalesotherrelatedtables

[3]Police recorded crime data are not designated as National Statistics.

[4]Since publication of this year’s data (12 February 2015), one additional firearm offence involving the use of a rifle has been recorded. This is not included in this table as an updated offence type breakdown for this year has not been published.

[5]Police recorded crime data are not designated as National Statistics.

[6]Police recorded crime statistics for offences involving a knife or sharp instrument based on data from 43 police forces in England and Wales. Data from Greater Manchester Police are excluded. A review of GMP data has identified undercounting of crimes involving a knife or sharp instrument. This occurred due to a technical issue with the identification and extraction of all relevant records of these offences from their crime recording system. GMP have changed the methodology they use to extract knife or sharp instrument offences and data from December 2017 onwards have been revised. However, data for earlier periods have not been revised and are likely to exclude relevant crimes that were recorded in GMP. Due to these changes, data for GMP have been excluded from the time series.

[7]Police recorded knife and sharp instrument offences data presented in this table are submitted via an additional special collection. Other offences exist that are not shown in this table that may include the use of a knife or sharp instrument.

[8]Data from Surrey Police include unbroken bottle and glass offences, which are outside the scope of this special collection; however, it is not thought that offences of this kind constitute a large enough number to impact on the national figure.

[9]An audit of Thames Valley Police into the recording of knife and sharp instrument offences since the introduction of their new recording system in April 2014 has revealed that they were previously under-counting these offences. Data for the year ending March 2016 have been revised, but data for the year ending March 2015 have not.

[10]Bedfordshire and Cambridgeshire Police forces have implemented new crime recording systems and therefore data for the latest period may be under-recorded.

[11]Sexual assault includes indecent assault on a male/female and sexual assault on a male/female (all ages).

[12]Homicide offences are those currently recorded by the police as at 11 September 2018 and are subject to revision as cases are dealt with by the police and by the courts, or as further information becomes available. These figures are taken from the detailed record level Homicide Index (rather than the main police collection for which forces are only required to provide an overall count of homicides).

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