Firearms offences on the up in Norfolk and Suffolk according to new figures
PUBLISHED: 18:48 08 February 2018 | UPDATED: 16:54 09 February 2018
Copyright Archant Nofolk 2016
Firearms offences in Norfolk have soared by more than 50pc in the past 10 years, new figures have revealed.
Figures released by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) showed there were 66 firearms offences in the county between April 2016 and March 2017, which was up from the 43 crimes over the same period in 2007/08.
The 53pc rise in firearms offences in the county, which excludes crimes associated with air weapons, comes at a time when violent crime in the county is also on the up.
Figures released by the ONS last month showed violent crime had risen by 12pc in the county in the 12 months to September 2017, while the figures also showed police recorded 13 homicides in the past year - the highest number since 2009.
But despite increases in firearms offences, police chiefs in the county insist Norfolk remains one of the safest places in the country.
The statistics released as part of a report looking at the nature of violent crime in England and Wales, for the financial year ending March 2017, also showed a rise in firearms offences in Suffolk, from 38 between April 2007 and March 2008 to 63 in 16/17.
The 66 Norfolk offences between April 2016 and March 2017 - the highest number of crimes over the 10 year period - included the discovery of an arsenal of weapons at a property in Brundall in May 2016
More than 70 illegal guns and live ammunition from a bungalow in Holmesdale Road as part of the raid which shocked neighbours.
Last May Michael Cook, who had a “fascination for firearms”, was jailed for three years after he admitted six offences, including possessing a prohibited firearm and a prohibited rifled gun.
Other firearms offences to have occurred in the 12 months from April 2016 and March 2017 include an incident in August 2016, where armed police officers stormed a Great Yarmouth flat to arrest a London gang member after reports he was “off his head” with a loaded sub-machine gun.
Solomon Oghene, 31, who was in a flat in Marine Parade smoking crack cocaine, had a machine gun which he was waving about like a toy.
In June last year Oghene, from London, was jailed for 10 years and admitted possession of a firearm, being concerned in the supply of Class A drugs and possession of a prohibited weapon.
Despite a rise in offences police insist Norfolk is “a very safe county” and said the level of crime involving firearms is relatively low.
A spokesman said: “Naturally these figures will fluctuate from year to year depending on incidents. We have the capability of responding to incidents involving the use of firearms or other weapons which could cause significant harm, although it is important to note that such reports are rare across Norfolk.
“In relation to legally held firearms, we have a robust process in place for the issue and management of firearms licences, of which there are currently 22,000 in the county. We will pro-actively seize items if holders breach their licence or upon review it’s found they are no longer fit to hold such a licence.”
Last year the force took part in an amnesty resulting in nearly 300 guns being surrendered.
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