UK Government

Home Office: More than 350 gun 'fingerprints' tracked

Press Release   •   Jan 11, 2010 10:47 GMT

The National Ballistics Intelligence Service (NABIS) linked more than 350 guns with crimes in its first year of operation, Policing and Crime Minister David Hanson announced today.

The service, which was jointly established by the Home Office and the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) in November 2008, helps police forces to solve crimes in which guns have been used, identify the minority of individuals who import and supply guns illegally and track down people who are illegally converting or adapting them.

Policing and Crime Minister David Hanson MP said:

"Thankfully gun crime is rare and continues to decline, however, when it occurs it ruins lives and devastates communities - and that is why we are committed to getting weapons off our streets.

"Through state-of-the-art intelligence NABIS has been instrumental in enabling the police to truly understand the extent and nature of gun crime in way not previously possible. This pioneering ballistics work has helped to bring ruthless criminals to justice and clamp down on the minority of people who use guns illegally."

NABIS has three areas of delivery: Forensic Services, Intelligence and Knowledge. These three areas come together to ensure a complete and holistic approach to tackling gun crime.

Police forces and other law enforcement agencies can submit ballistic material to one of the NABIS regional centres. NABIS is then able link ballistic items to previous crimes and incidents within 48 hours, enabling police to establish crucial links within the initial hours of an investigation.

Gun crime in the UK is rare and there has been an 11 per cent fall since 2005. The government is absolutely committed to tackling gun crime through targeted policing and tough powers. The UK has some of the toughest firearms laws in the world, with a five year mandatory minimum sentence for gun possession, and average sentences for firearm possession triple those of a decade ago.

Assistant Chief Constable Susannah Fish, Association of Chief Police Officers lead on the criminal use of firearms said:

"NABIS has been a huge step forward in the fight against gun crime, ACPO and the Home Office have created a truly national and integrated approach to tackling this type of crime.

"Nowhere else is the world is there a firearms service such as this. NABIS is able to focus on science, intelligence and knowledge in a constructive and dynamic way. My message to communities is that we are dedicated to stamping out this type of crime and are working hard in delivering a joined up and effective response."

The linking of intelligence-based forensic services and integrated intelligence products provide UK policing with a unique system which is unrivalled anywhere in the world.

NOTES TO EDITORS

1. NABIS was initially jointly funded by the Home Office and the Association of Chief Police Officers in November 2008, with an investment of £5.5 million. The Association of Chief Police Officers continues to fund the service for a further £2.5 million per year.

2. More information about the National Ballistics Intelligence Service can be found at www.nabis.police.uk.

3. In September 2007 the government launched the successful Tackling Gangs Action Programme to tackle gun and gang crime. The ongoing work is now embedded within the Tackling Knives and Serious Youth Violence Action Programme (TKAP).

4. In its first year of operation NABIS has received nearly 2,000 submissions from UK law enforcement into the NABIS regional centres, these submissions have consisted of nearly 4,000 individual items. NABIS has linked over 350 firearms incidents and supported the police forces of England and Wales with intelligence packages relating to numerous incidences.

5. NABIS Intelligence Cell creates structured, representative and supportive intelligence information for police forces and law enforcement agencies. Focused on what firearms are used, how they are used and by whom they are used, the NABIS Intelligence Cell is able to support partners in targeting offenders and Organised Crime Groups (OCG's) as well as developing our understanding of the supply of firearms into and within the UK.

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