London Imitation Firearms Operation

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  • Comparing the number of imitation-enabled gun crime offences during this period between boroughs shows that three of the five SE London boroughs chosen for this project feature in the top seven highest scoring boroughs, with Croydon and Lewisham somewhat lower. Key Finding – For most of the five SE London Boroughs subject to focus in this project, imitation-enabled crime accounts for a sizeable amount of gun-enabled crime
  • indicates the total number of offences, per borough, where an imitation firearm was recovered. It indicates that for the 5 boroughs, Lambeth has the 2 nd highest number in the MPD, with Southwark, Croydon, Greenwich and Lewisham 3 rd , 7 th , 10 th and 15 th respectively. Hackney has the highest number of offences, with Waltham Forest and Brent (=4 th ), and Newham (6 th ) also experiencing a high number. Key Finding – The Five Boroughs of this project feature strongly in terms of locations for recovered imitation firearms, as do most of the Priority Gun Crime Boroughs
  • These charts clearly demonstrate that the number of recorded offences involving the possession of replica/imitation firearms have remained relatively constant in comparison to significant increases in overall levels of firearms possession offences. Thus, for the time periods considered, the proportion of firearms possession offences which relate to imitations has in fact decreased over the past 4 years.   The substantial proportion of weapons flagged as ‘Handgun (unknown)’ and under similar feature codes, however, will not feature in the above totals and percentages, which may therefore be significantly higher. Key Finding – proportionally, the amount of possession of firearms offences which are recorded as involving imitation weapons has decreased in recent years. However the real proportion is likely to be somewhat higher
  • Hotspot analysis has been conducted to compare a period of time since the commencement of this financial year with one beginning in April 2004. when considering all GEC offences involving imitation firearms over the MPD between 01/04/2004 and 22/09/2007, two hotspots emerge; one primarily in Southwark and the other centred upon Hackney. The hotspot in Southwark is discussed on the next slide.   Both Hackney and Southwark are boroughs which regularly experience higher than average levels of all gun-enabled crime. Recommendation – Hackney to be considered in terms of formal membership of the MPS Imitation Firearms Steering Group. Hotspots outside Five Borough Project   The smaller hotspot in the Kensal Green/ West Kilburn/ Maida Hill area is as a result of five incidents involving air weapons and three involving BB guns, the majority resulting in ABH. A series of three incidents involving air weapons occurred around the Shirland Road area between the 18 th and 20 th April 2007. There were a total of seven victims; one person was a victim in two incidents. However it would appear that these were random attacks on passers by. A further two incidents involving air weapons occurred five days apart. In each case a construction worker was injured. A 27-year-old male, living in Queen’s Park, in proximity to the offences, was arrested for the second offence. The three incidents involving BB guns were not linked but the suspects in each case were aged between 13 and 16 years.   The hotspot apparent in the Soho/ Bloomsbury/ Holborn area is due to number of incidents where an air weapon has been used by unknown suspects to injure female victims in their 20s, whilst they are walking in the street. These offences have occurred late at night or in the early hours of the morning.   Both of these hotspots demonstrate that, although the gravity of the injuries caused may be less than those sustained when shot by a lethal-barrelled weapon, the use of air weapons in violent crime can still bring fear and injury to the general public. Such crimes are, as in these cases, random and apparently motiveless. With, for example, shootings investigated by Operation Trident, this may not always be the case and in a number of circumstances, both victims and suspects may have links to gang activity and violent criminality. With air-weapon shootings, which may be carried out ‘sniper-style’ from a nearby vantage point, the victim may well not even be previously known to the suspect. Recommendation – CO19 to provide Information/ Intelligence around Air Weapon suppliers in North West London current or pending process.
  • Intelligence   Future intelligence collection activity to seek to establish the role of imitation firearms in criminal groups which purport to have some degree of access to live firearms including;   Co-ordination with partner agencies/LEA’s HMRC/SOCA to identify supply issues in general   Specific prisioner de-briefing strategy to address gaps, including commodity gaps, matters supply / distribution and market prices   Level 1 (Territorial Policing) assets to be tasked to both monitor and develop intelligence, for phase 2 of Operation Hand-over in January with a Surrender Scheme supported by enforcement activity where appropriate at levels 1,2 and 3.   Intelligence collection matters to be supported by Safer Neighbourhood Teams and CO19 Firearms Enquiry Teams     Enforcement   Key industry partners should be engaged in order to encourage - and potentially to enforce - compliance with legislation   Engagement with – if present – companies believed to be supplying realistic imitation firearms to the UK from abroad via the Internet   Key firearms legislation to be promoted within the MPS to enhance organisation memory   Organisational focus in terms of possession of imitation firearms in a public place   Test Purchase operations to be conducted against high street outlets and internet suppliers   Level 2/3 assets to undertake operations against significant suppliers into London market / and or those units targeting real firearms suppliers to factor this initiative into their core business   Hackney to be considered in terms of formal membership of the MPS Imitation Firearms Steering Group.
  • Enforcement   Key industry partners should be engaged in order to encourage - and potentially to enforce - compliance with legislation   Engagement with – if present – companies believed to be supplying realistic imitation firearms to the UK from abroad via the Internet   Key firearms legislation to be promoted within the MPS to enhance organisation memory   Organisational focus in terms of possession of imitation firearms in a public place  
  • SCD3/CO19/Safer Neighbourhoods Unit to develop consistent messages for delivery to young people in terms of crime and risks around imitation firearms focusing upon schools   Sales and security procedures at Wolf Armouries in Camden to be regularly reviewed with marking of weapons considered helping prevent leakage to criminal markets.   Procedures to register Skirmishers at Islington site to be examined/regularly reviewed with member’s details made available to Police.   SCD3 liaison with Dutch authorities regarding imitation firearm laws and Holland’s position as a major cargo hub by air and sea.   The seizure of imitations via a disclaimer process or under PACE should be encouraged when conducting section 18 and section 32 searches.  
  • Prevention   Issues surrounding the supply and use of imitation firearms to be raised with the National Firearms Intelligence Cell (NFIC) and flagged to new lead for ACPO Criminal Use of Firearms   Guidelines regarding the safe storage of imitation firearms to be considered, given the risks presented by potential theft, if such guidelines do not already exist   Law enforcement to lobby government for tighter regulation of Airsoft site membership and purchase of equipment   Practical, affordable and sustainable resourcing strategy to be devised with regards to seizures at ports and airports   Collaboration with manufacturing countries regarding specification, changes and despatch policies    
  • London Imitation Firearms Operation

    1. 1. Realistic Imitation Firearm Initiative <ul><li>Operation Hand-over </li></ul><ul><li>ACPO Criminal Use of Firearms </li></ul><ul><li>29 th November 2007 </li></ul>Chief Inspector James Cooke Specialist Crime Directorate
    2. 2. Overview <ul><li>Background to Initiative </li></ul><ul><li>Criminal Intelligence-Imitations </li></ul><ul><li>The Violent Crime Reduction Act 2006 </li></ul><ul><li>Operation Hand-over phase 1 and 2 </li></ul>
    3. 3. Imitations Intelligence <ul><li>Gun enabled crime data. </li></ul><ul><li>Firearms recovery database. </li></ul><ul><li>2003 Amnesty details. </li></ul><ul><li>The Home Office estimate up to 10 million imitations could be in circulation in UK. </li></ul>
    4. 4. GEC Involving Imitations by BOCU
    5. 5. Offences where imitation firearms recovered, by Borough 01/03/2006 – 31/08/2007
    6. 7. Imitation GEC Hotspots
    7. 8. Violent Crime Reduction Act 2006 Section 36- 41, effective 1 st October 07 <ul><li>Criminal offence to: manufacture,import or sell a realistic imitation firearm in the UK. </li></ul><ul><li>Exemptions, proof of manufacture, import or sale to make available for: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Museums </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Film/TV/Theatre </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Historical re-enactments </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Air-Soft skirmishing </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Crown servants </li></ul></ul><ul><li>All sales to over 18’s. </li></ul><ul><li>Penalty for manufacturer, importer or seller: 6 months imprisonment, a £5,000 fine, or both. </li></ul>
    8. 9. Which One Is Real A B C
    9. 10. Type of weapons <ul><li>Realistic: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Air-Soft guns </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Starting pistols </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Cigarette lighters </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Blank Firers </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Cap Guns </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Non-realistic: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>For purposes of the VCRA, bright colours. However, could still be an imitation and subject to other restrictions. </li></ul></ul>
    10. 11. Islington Skirmishing site.
    11. 12. Hand-over Phase 1 October - December 07 <ul><li>Safer Neighbourhood Teams / Trading Standards local realistic imitation firearm retailer identification/notice of law service </li></ul><ul><li>Internet retailer identification </li></ul><ul><li>Import controls into London.(Heathrow) </li></ul><ul><li>Initial Test Purchase operations against local retailers </li></ul><ul><li>Initial Test Purchase operations against Internet suppliers </li></ul><ul><li>Intelligence review / prioritisation </li></ul>
    12. 13. Hand-over Phase 2 January-08 <ul><li>Increased intensity of Test Purchase tactics </li></ul><ul><li>Expansion of import route detection/disruption into London </li></ul><ul><li>Targeted Intelligence operations by MPS central resources </li></ul><ul><li>Focus on the offence of being in possession of an imitation firearm in a public place without lawful authority of reasonable excuse(As of 1 st of October 07 12 months imprisonment) </li></ul><ul><li>Surrender Scheme </li></ul>
    13. 14. Recommendations <ul><li>Intelligence </li></ul><ul><li>Intelligence collection activity to seek to establish the role of imitation firearms in criminal groups </li></ul><ul><li>Co-ordination with partner agencies/LEA’s HMRC/SOCA to identify supply issues </li></ul><ul><li>Specific prisoner de-briefing strategy to address gaps </li></ul><ul><li>Level 1 assets to be tasked to monitor and develop intelligence for phase 2 of Operation Hand-over </li></ul><ul><li>Intelligence collection matters to be supported by Safer Neighbourhood Teams and CO19 Firearms Enquiry Teams </li></ul><ul><li>Clear demarcation of responsibility identified between Operation Alliance Imitation Firearms Project and Gangs and Guns Delivery Unit </li></ul><ul><li>Clarification around types of imitation in order to fully inform MPS intelligence and CRIS updated accordingly </li></ul><ul><li>Forensic Science Services (FSS) to review potential convertibility of imitations, in particular around the developing field of air-soft weapons. </li></ul><ul><li>Specific imitation firearms drop down menus to increase compliance around recording non-forensic submitted items accurately. </li></ul><ul><li>CO19 to provide Information/ Intelligence around Air Weapon suppliers in North West London current or pending process. </li></ul><ul><li>SCD3/MIB to liaise with GMP around the type of imitations involved, intelligence concerning key nominals/groups and supply routes </li></ul>
    14. 15. <ul><li>Enforcement </li></ul><ul><li>Test Purchase operations to be conducted against high street outlets and internet suppliers </li></ul><ul><li>Level 2/3 assets to undertake operations against significant suppliers into London market / and or those units targeting real firearms suppliers to factor this initiative into their core business </li></ul><ul><li>Hackney to be considered in terms of formal membership of the MPS Imitation Firearms Steering Group. </li></ul><ul><li>Key industry partners should be engaged in order to encourage - and potentially to enforce - compliance with legislation </li></ul><ul><li>Engagement with – if present – companies believed to be supplying realistic imitation firearms to the UK from abroad via the Internet </li></ul><ul><li>Key firearms legislation to be promoted within the MPS to enhance organisation memory </li></ul><ul><li>Organisational focus in terms of possession of imitation firearms in a public place </li></ul><ul><li>  </li></ul>
    15. 16. <ul><li>Prevention </li></ul><ul><li>SCD3/CO19/Safer Neighbourhoods Unit to develop consistent messages for delivery to young people in terms of crime and risks around imitation firearms focusing upon schools </li></ul><ul><li>Sales and security procedures at Wolf Armouries in Camden to be regularly reviewed with marking of weapons considered helping prevent leakage to criminal markets. </li></ul><ul><li>Procedures to register Skirmishers at Islington site to be examined/regularly reviewed with member’s details made available to Police. </li></ul><ul><li>SCD3 liaison with Dutch authorities regarding imitation firearm laws and Holland’s position as a major cargo hub by air and sea. </li></ul><ul><li>The seizure of imitations via a disclaimer process or under PACE should be encouraged when conducting section 18 and section 32 searches. </li></ul><ul><li>Issues surrounding the supply and use of imitation firearms to be raised with the National Firearms Intelligence Cell (NFIC) and flagged to new lead for ACPO Criminal Use of Firearms </li></ul>
    16. 17. <ul><li>Prevention </li></ul><ul><li>Guidelines regarding the safe storage of imitation firearms to be considered, given the risks presented by potential theft, if such guidelines do not already exist </li></ul><ul><li>Law enforcement to lobby government for tighter regulation of Airsoft site membership and purchase of equipment </li></ul><ul><li>Practical, affordable and sustainable re-sourcing strategy to be devised with regards to seizures at ports and airports </li></ul><ul><li>Collaboration with manufacturing countries regarding specification, changes and despatch policies </li></ul><ul><li>  </li></ul><ul><li>  </li></ul><ul><li>  </li></ul>
    17. 18. Contacts <ul><li>Strategic issues </li></ul><ul><ul><li>[email_address] uk </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Surrender Scheme </li></ul><ul><ul><li>[email_address] </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Enforcement issues </li></ul><ul><ul><li>[email_address] </li></ul></ul>

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