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Last Updated: Monday, 28 November 2005, 14:21 GMT
Police chief urges toy guns ban
Michael Todd
Mr Todd says parents should ignore "pester power"
The Chief Constable of Greater Manchester Police has called for a ban on parents buying toy guns for their children as Christmas presents.

Michael Todd said seasonal gifts such as replica and ball-bearing guns, knives and fireworks encouraged anti-social behaviour.

He said that 70% of incidents attended by GMP's armed response unit turned out to be youngsters with replica guns.

Parents should stand firm against "pester power", he said.

Mr Todd said: "The types of guns I'm talking about are those that look and feel like the real thing, not water pistols, spud guns or any other brightly-coloured toy gun.

'Extremely dangerous'

"Not only do these call-outs cost thousands of pounds and are a vast drain on police resources, but they are also extremely dangerous for the individual with such a weapon.

"It is very difficult, even to the trained eye, to decide whether the gun is real of not and an armed officer only has a split-second to make that decision.

"This is not about trying to spoil Christmas for young people but about helping to make sure everyone has a safe and enjoyable time over the festive period."

Mr Todd also urged parents against buying mini-bikes, quad bikes and electric scooters which he said could cause annoyance in local communities.

He said many parents did not realise the extra costs involved with such vehicles, such as MOT, insurance, registration documents and road tax.

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