Rise in number of children arrested over gun crimes

Firearms and ammunition

Firearms and ammunition

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Thirteen children were arrested for suspected gun crimes in Lancashire last year, up from eight in 2014 and 11 in 2013.

The change on last year’s figures was 62.5 per cent - significantly higher than the 20 per cent increase found nationally, after an FOI request by the Press Association.

Lancashire Constabulary said although there were no records of any charges being brought, a 13-year-old boy and three boys aged 12 received final warnings. Yesterday nobody was available to give any further information.

Nationally last year there were 1,549 arrests of children for suspected crimes involving firearms, air weapons or imitation guns, including 506 charges brought by police.

The brother of a fatal shooting victim said gangs were using children to carry guns to avoid detection.

Ian Cameron Swanston, whose 20-year-old brother Dorrie was shot dead in Hulme, Manchester in 1999, also believed some youngsters thought carrying guns gave them “status”.

Mr Swanston, who is a counsellor and trustee of the charity Mothers Against Violence, said: “The more guns within the community, the more likely it is we will see younger children getting access to them.

“Gangs use children, they use their girlfriends. They use people who the police are unlikely to search.

“For some it’s about status. Having a gun is seen as having power and people become fearful of you.

“The impact of their choices is far greater than can be imagined. It is so much easier to destroy a life.”

A National Police Chiefs’ Council spokesman said firearms offences in the UK still account for less than 0.2 per cent of total recorded crime.