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Last Updated: Thursday, 22 January, 2004, 19:13 GMT
Trident hails gun crime reduction
The Met says the number of guns in circulation is still on the rise
The number of people shot dead in London last year fell by nearly half.

Scotland Yard says Operation Trident, which targets gun crime within the black community, is making an impact.

Ten people were killed in gun crimes it investigated last year, compared to 19 in 2002, while attempted murders using guns fell from 53 to 38 - down 28%.

Violent offences rose 3.9% to 181,755, while other firearms offences, robbery, burglary, sex offences, theft, drug offences and fraud were all down.

Overall, Metropolitan Police figures showed a 2% fall in crime in the capital.

Senior officers believe criminals are becoming more wary of being caught with guns due to stiffer court sentences and better relations between police and local communities.

Gun crimes investigated by Trident - 10 (from 19 in 2002)
Attempted murders using guns - 38 (from 53 in 2002)
Firearms offences - 145 (from 151 in 2002)
All offences - 1,059,919 (from 1,081,896 in 2002)
"For anyone thinking of carrying a gun, not only will it destroy lives, but you will also face a minimum sentence of five years if you are caught," warned Assistant Commissioner Tarique Ghaffur.

Tougher laws on replica and air guns have also been introduced under the Anti-Social Behaviour Act, as many have been converted to fire live rounds.

It is now an offence to possess imitation firearms in a public place without legal authority or reasonable excuse, and the age limit for buying them has been raised from 14 to 17.

The Met is still concerned that more firearms are in circulation, despite the drop in gun crime and a number of well publicised raids on gun conversion factories.

Last year, 171 of the 385 guns seized were either replica, converted or air weapons.

Lee Jasper, Mayor's Police Adviser
"It's great news for London."

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