West Midlands has the highest rate of gun crime in England and Wales, figures show

14 year-old gunman was jailed for life for killing Keon Lincon last week

<p>Mustapha Yussuf, 14, jailed for life for killing Keon Lincoln </p>

Mustapha Yussuf, 14, jailed for life for killing Keon Lincoln

Lockdowns and other coronavirus restrictions contributed to gun crime dropping nationally in the year to March - but police forces across England and Wales still logged thousands of offences.

Home Office figures show West Midlands Police recorded 721 crimes involving firearms that year – and has dealt with 9,993 since police force level records began in 2007-08.

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Those crimes included the murder of 15 year-old Keon Lincoln shot and stabbed to death yards from his Handsworth home.

The 14 year-old gunman, Yussuf Mustapha, was sentenced to life with a minimum of 16 years for murder and possession of a firearm with intent to endanger life.

Four other teenagers were also sentenced - with police continuing to investigate the case and support Keon’s family.

The National Police Chiefs’ Council said there is more work to be done nationally to stop those intent on carrying weapons and prevent the "terrible consequences" of gun crime.

Keon Lincoln murdered by teenagers yards from his home

How do the West Midlands gun crime figures compare nationally?

There were 25 firearm offences for every 100,000 people in the West Midlands policing area in 2020-21 – up from 24 the year before and the highest rate in England and Wales.

The data covers crimes involving lethal firearms like shotguns and handguns and non-lethal weapons such as stun guns, but excludes offences involving air weapons.

It shows weapons were discharged or fired 270 times during incidents recorded by West Midlands Police last year.

Nationally, more than 1,000 people were injured and dozens died as a result of gun crime in 2020-21, when forces in England and Wales tackled 5,700 firearms offences.

West Midlands has highest rates of gun crime in England and Wales, figures suggest

Robberies and violent attacks made up more than half of all gun crimes, with offences most common on the streets.

The largest proportion of crimes involved handguns, while weapons were fired in more than half of the incidents recorded. Victims were most likely to be in their 20s.

How do the latest figures for the West Midlands compare to earlier years?

Gun crime dropped nationally by 14% compared to 2019-20 and has fallen significantly over 13 years – last year, it was 42% lower than in 2007-08.

West Midlands Police logged 974 gun crimes in 2007-08, 26% more than last year and the equivalent of 37 in every 100,000 people.

The number of firearm crimes recorded by the force was at its highest in 2008-09.

What has the government and senior police officials said about gun crime rates?

A Government spokesman said it was recruiting 20,000 extra police officers and had given forces greater powers to stop and search, in an effort to tackle the issue and remove dangerous weapons from the streets.

He said the country had some of the toughest gun controls in the world and that firearms offences made up a small proportion of recorded crime, adding: "We know that everyone in Britain deserves safe streets, homes and communities."

A spokesman for the NPCC said any loss of life or injury from offensive weapons is "one too many", adding: "These figures reflect important on-going work by police and our partners to reduce the number of deaths, injuries and other serious incidents due to armed criminality."

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