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Last Updated: Wednesday, 21 May, 2003, 05:50 GMT 06:50 UK
Gun crime growing 'like cancer'
Guns
Mr Green said police attitudes to gun crime have been "chaotic"
Gun crime is growing in the UK "like a cancer", police chiefs were warned on Tuesday.

The Association of Chief Police Officers' annual conference was told by the organisation's firearms spokesman: "It's coming your way, believe me."

Alan Green, deputy chief constable of Greater Manchester Police (GMP) said police bosses were "burying their head in the sand" if they did not think firearms crime a problem in their area.

Mr Green's warning comes after murders doubled in Nottinghamshire as gun crime increased last summer.

Mr Green said: "Gun crime, impacting particularly on our black communities, has spread across this country like a cancer."

I was amazed at the state of investigation into guns, it was chaotic
Alan Green DCC

A new national firearms database is now up and running to help track the use of individual weapons, delegates were told at the NEC in Birmingham.

Having worked with the Royal Ulster Constabulary for 20 years before moving to GMP, Mr Green said force attitudes to gun crime were very poor when he arrived.

He said: "I was amazed at the state of investigation into guns. It was chaotic.

"People hadn't got a clue about what guns had been used and where guns had been used."

Mr Green said forces that currently have little or no gun crime could look out for a number of warning signs.

These included the existence of drug dealing and prostitution or the fact a neighbouring force had a problem with firearms crime, he said.

'Straightforward assassinations'

"It could just be down to having good road links with forces that have a problem," he said.

"One of the movements was from Wolverhampton to Aberdeen after one group recognised a dearth of talent in prostitution in Aberdeen and moved people up there."

Nottinghamshire chief constable Steve Green told the conference said that after gun crime "spiralled out of control" officers launched a campaign code-named Operation Stealth.

A large slice of the increase in deaths came from "straightforward assassinations ... that 12 months ago were unheard of in Nottinghamshire," said Detective Chief Superintendent Phillip Davies.

The operation has since led to 352 arrests, 75% of which were later charged with significant offences.




SEE ALSO:
Amnesty nets 40,000 weapons
13 May 03  |  Politics
Did the gun amnesty work?
30 Apr 03  |  UK


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