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Wednesday, October 27, 1999 Published at 09:52 GMT 10:52 UK

UK: Scotland

Firearms offences at new low

Almost a third of Scottish gun-related crimes occur in the home

The number of firearms offences in Scotland has fallen - according to statistics from the Scottish Executive.

Figures for 1998 also reveal that Strathclyde is the most dangerous region in terms of gun-related crime.

More than half of all offences in which a firearm was used took place in Strathclyde, as did 81% of robberies and 61% of assaults.

The figures, the lowest since 1989, show that 985 crimes were reported involving the alleged use of a firearm.

That is a fall of 17% from the 1,187 recorded in 1997.

[ image: Pistols and revolvers are used in 12% of cases]
Pistols and revolvers are used in 12% of cases
The Scottish Parliament's Justice Minister Jim Wallace praised police for helping to reduce the levels of armed crime.

However, he said it is still worrying that there were just under 1,000 occasions when firearms were used.

The statistics show that nearly a third of offences occur in the home, while a further third were committed on public roads.

Just 2% took place in banks, building societies and post offices.

Despite the tightening of legislation relating to handguns following the Dunblane shootings in 1996, pistols and revolvers are still the second most likely type of weapon to be involved in crime.

The figures released in the Recorded Crimes and Offences Involving Firearms bulletin show that pistols and revolvers are used in 12% of crimes involving a firearm.

Handguns are second only to airguns, which account for over two thirds of reported firearm crimes.

The total number of offences involving airguns fell by 15% from 783 in 1997 to 666 last year.

Firearms were used in 7% of homicides, 3% of attempted murders and less than 3% of robberies.

Police cleared up 44% of recorded firearms crime, 2% lower than the 46% clear-up rate in 1997.

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