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Last Updated: Thursday, 19 April 2007, 13:53 GMT 14:53 UK
Increase in 999 firearm call-outs
Firearm incidents graph
The number of emergency calls made to police reporting firearm incidents has almost tripled in five years in Devon and Cornwall.

Figures obtained under the Freedom of Information Act show that in 2002, 224 incidents were reported, while in 2006, the figure rose to 651.

Firearm incident reports are 999 calls made by people believing guns, knives or other weapons are being used.

The figures amount to more than 50 emergency calls received per month.

Dave James, of the Police Federation, said: "I think there is a greater tendency in today's society for people to arm themselves with weapons - whether that be a knife or a firearm - and the police have to be equipped to respond accordingly."

Increase awareness

Around 150 police officers in the region are trained to use guns.

Devon and Cornwall police said the actual number of incidents involving firearms has remained steady, or even fallen, and increased concern amongst the public about weapons may be responsible for the rise in emergency calls.

Chief Supt Bob Pennington said: "Devon and Cornwall is extremely safe and we have the data to show that.

"You have to look out your window - remember we are in Devon and Cornwall - but it is highly incumbent upon ourselves to protect the public to make sure it remains a safe place for people to live, work and visit."




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