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Rising number of guns being smuggled into UK, Metropolitan police say

Met commissioner Bernard Hogan-Howe tells hearing in London that his force seized a record 714 firearms in 2015

Guardian

28 September 2016

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Met commissioner Bernard Hogan-Howe tells hearing in London that his force seized a record 714 firearms in 2015

More guns are being seized in cities across Britain as the number of firearms being smuggled into the country increases, Britain's most senior police officer has said.

Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe, the Metropolitan police commissioner, told a hearing at London's City Hall that a rise in gun crime in the capital was being put down to an increase in the number of weapons coming into the country.

The Met seized a "worrying" record number of weapons in 2015, including semiautomatic guns, Hogan-Howe said.

"We've seized more firearms than ever before," he said. "In the previous year [2015] we've seized 714 guns – that's around two per day. In a city this size, that's a worrying number. This is an increase on previous years. Some of them are semiautomatic weapons, too.

"If you look around the big cities of the country, they are seeing a similar profile. Manchester, Birmingham, Leeds, Liverpool – they are seeing big rises as well."

The main supply route into the UK is across the continent from eastern European countries such as Albania and Lithuania, and significant seizures have recently been made of guns coming in from France.

Hogan-Howe said: "We are targeting with the National Crime Agency the supply routes. It's either from abroad, it's stealing legally owned weapons in this country, sometimes you've got to look at military supplies and also you've got to look at licensed dealers."

Officers also monitor potential supply routes from the US, as well as the parcel post.

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