Met wants minimum five-year sentence for carrying a gun

Scotland Yard is pressing the Home Office to introduce a minimum five-year prison sentence for anyone caught with a firearm, amid growing evidence that gun crime is rising out of control.

The Metropolitan Police is alarmed by the number of firearms being carried and used on the streets of London. New figures show that, in the past three months, the number of reported incidents involving guns to which police have sent armed officers has risen by more than a third – to 4,106 – compared with the same period last year.

The Home Office said yesterday that it has agreed to consider including proposals for a minimum jail term for gun possession as part of an over-haul of sentencing guidelines.

The police believe that, as well as a rise in shootings between rival drug gangs and criminals, a growing number of people routinely carry firearms as fashion accessories. Senior officers at the Met were particularly incensed by what they believe was the lenient treatment of a member of the rap collective So Solid Crew who was caught with a loaded gun after a row with a traffic warden.

Ashley Walters, 19, was jailed for 18 months in March this year after police discovered a .22-calibre Brocock air pistol containing five rounds of modified live ammunition wrapped in a knotted sports sock inside his girlfriend's handbag. The firearm was discovered after armed police were called when Walters became embroiled in a heated argument with the warden.

The musician – who had been told by a judge to expect a custodial sentence for the crime, which carries a maximum sentence of 10 years – was said to be "greatly relieved" at the jail term.

Walters will serve half his sentence at a young offenders' institution and will then be on probation. He said he bought the gun for £1,300 from a man outside a nightclub.

Sir John Stevens, the Commissioner of the Met, and his deputy, Ian Blair, have been urging the Home Office to introduce a five-year minimum sentence for everyone caught in possession of a firearm, regardless of whether they were using the weapon. Currently, the minimum term is just nine months.

Commander Alan Brown, who is in charge of controlling gun crime in London, said: "The current sentences handed out to people found to be in possession of a firearm provide no deterrent. People need to be afraid of the consequences of being arrested in possession of a firearm and the expectation that they face a jail sentence of up to five years."

In June, July, and August this year, the police sent a vehicle with armed officers to 4,106 incidents. That was a 38 per cent rise on the same three month period last year when armed response vehicles went to 2,976 reported gun related incidents in London.

A Scotland Yard spokeswoman said: "One consequence of greater gun availability is that petty arguments have escalated into shootings. We want to create a level of fear whereby if someone is arrested in possession of a firearm they know they are going to be locked up for a long time."

A Home Office spokesman said the department was currently working on new "more robust" sentencing guidelines over firearms cases for courts.

News
ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment
booksPhotographer Richard Young has been snapping celebrities at play for 40 years - but he says it wasn’t all fun and games...
News
i100
Sport
Aguero - who single-handedly has kept City's Champions League dreams alive - celebrates his dramatic late winner
footballManchester City 3 Bayern Munich 2: Argentine's late hat-rick sees home side snatch vital victory
News
Muhammad Ali pictured in better health in 2006
peopleBut he has enjoyed publicity from his alleged near-death experience
Arts and Entertainment
Tony breaks into Ian Garrett's yacht and makes a shocking discovery
TVReview: Revelations continue to make this drama a tough watch
News
news
News
peopleSinger tells The Independent what life is like in rehab in an exclusive video interview
News
The assumption that women are not as competent in leadership positions as men are leads to increased stress in the workplace
science... and it's down to gender stereotypes
Arts and Entertainment
Inner sanctum: Tove Jansson and friends in her studio in 1992
booksWhat was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Singer songwriter Bob Dylan performs on stage
films
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: Drifting and forgotten - turning lives around for ex-soldiers

Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: Turning lives around for ex-soldiers

Our partner charities help veterans on the brink – and get them back on their feet
Putin’s far-right ambition: Think-tank reveals how Russian President is wooing – and funding – populist parties across Europe to gain influence in the EU

Putin’s far-right ambition

Think-tank reveals how Russian President is wooing – and funding – populist parties across Europe to gain influence in the EU
Tove Jansson's Moominland: What was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?

Escape to Moominland

What was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?
Nightclubbing with Richard Young: The story behind his latest book of celebrity photographs

24-Hour party person

Photographer Richard Young has been snapping celebrities at play for 40 years. As his latest book is released, he reveals that it wasn’t all fun and games
Michelle Obama's school dinners: America’s children have a message for the First Lady

A taste for rebellion

US children have started an online protest against Michelle Obama’s drive for healthy school meals by posting photos of their lunches
Colouring books for adults: How the French are going crazy for Crayolas

Colouring books for adults

How the French are going crazy for Crayolas
Jack Thorne's play 'Hope': What would you do as a local politician faced with an impossible choice of cuts?

What would you do as a local politician faced with an impossible choice of cuts?

Playwright Jack Thorne's latest work 'Hope' poses the question to audiences
Ed Harcourt on Romeo Beckham and life as a court composer at Burberry

Call me Ed Mozart

Paloma Faith, Lana del Ray... Romeo Beckham. Ed Harcourt has proved that he can write for them all. But it took a personal crisis to turn him from indie star to writer-for-hire
10 best stocking fillers for foodies

Festive treats: 10 best stocking fillers for foodies

From boozy milk to wasabi, give the food-lover in your life some extra-special, unusual treats to wake up to on Christmas morning
Phil Hughes head injury: He had one weakness – it has come back to haunt him

Phil Hughes had one weakness – it has come back to haunt him

Prolific opener had world at his feet until Harmison and Flintoff bounced him
'I have an age of attraction that starts as low as four': How do you deal with a paedophile who has never committed a crime?

'I am a paedophile'

Is our approach to sex offenders helping to create more victims?
How bad do you have to be to lose a Home Office contract?

How bad do you have to be to lose a Home Office contract?

Serco given Yarl’s Wood immigration contract despite ‘vast failings’
Green Party on the march in Bristol: From a lost deposit to victory

From a lost deposit to victory

Green Party on the march in Bristol
Putting the grot right into Santa's grotto

Winter blunderlands

Putting the grot into grotto
'It just came to us, why not do it naked?' London's first nude free runner captured in breathtaking images across capital

'It just came to us, why not do it naked?'

London's first nude free runner captured in breathtaking images across capital