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Last Updated: Monday, 26 February 2007, 08:07 GMT
'Evict gun thugs' families' call
Bernard Hogan-Howe
Bernard Hogan-Howe was writing in the Daily Telegraph
Families that shield gun criminals from the police should be evicted from their homes, a senior police chief has said.

Bernard Hogan-Howe, Chief Constable of Merseyside Police, believes the tough measure would make communities feel safer and help tackle gun crime.

Writing in the Daily Telegraph, he also calls for tougher action on teenagers caught with guns and the power to force witnesses to give evidence.

The chief said it was vital that police broke the "wall of silence" they face.

Mr Hogan-Howe has overseen a fall of almost 25% in firearms offences in Merseyside since he was appointed in September 2004.

He attributes the drop to the force's "total war on crime", in which officers disrupt fringe criminal activity while detectives target the gun criminals.

Society needs to make it clear it will not tolerate the thugs who are living life by the law of the gun
Bernard Hogan-Howe

After taking part in last week's Downing Street summit on gun crime in Britain's cities, Mr Hogan-Howe outlined the three priorities in tackling teenage gun crime.

They include tightening the criminal justice system to take to court those who refuse to give evidence, excluding people involved in gun crime from their communities and tougher measures to tackle the importation of guns.

Despite the fall in the number of firearms offences in Merseyside, Mr Hogan-Howe said they had seen an increase in the number of teenagers involved in gun crime.

He wrote: "Teenagers found to be involved in gun crime should be excluded by being sent to prison or other secure accommodation.

"When these children come from families where crime is an inherent way of life and they harbour those with guns I think action should be taken to exclude them.

"Once taken away from the community these families should be managed by agencies involved in the criminal justice system and local authorities.

"Exclusion is essential so that the rest of the community can feel safe and enjoy their day-to-day lives without fear.

"Society needs to make it clear it will not tolerate the thugs who are living life by the law of the gun."


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