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Home secretary announces gun crime crackdown

Database to link weapons to crimes

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The government is to improve technology for linking weapons to incidents as part of a three point plan to tackle gun crime.

Other measures include tough punishments for those who use other people to look after weapons and increased funding for community groups.

The home secretary announced the three point plan following a gun crime summit, chaired by the prime minister, and including senior police officers, representatives from community groups, and voluntary organisations.

From April 2008 the Home Office plans to launch the National Ballistics Intelligence Database (NABID), which will replace the current £1.1m National Firearms Forensic Intelligence Database (NFFID), launched in 2002.

A Home Office spokesperson told GC News: "The new system is an improved version of NFFID.

"It will be placed in all 43 police forces in England and Wales. We are currently in talks with Scotland and Northern Ireland to allow them access to it."

The spokesperson said NFFID is being shelved because it is "too expensive" for police forces to commission information.

"The NFFID is owned by the Forensic Science Service. As a highly qualified specialist operation, they charge top end for information commissioned," the spokesperson said.

"The new system will be cheaper because it will be owned and operated by the police. It will also give a more complete picture."

The £4m NABID database is expected to link up with the Joint Firearms Intelligence Cell (which monitors trafficking of firearms, class A drugs and people). It will help the Association of Chief Police Officers identify emerging trends to help police target proactive initiatives and operations.

The systems will be interlinked with the long delayed National Firearm Licensing Management System (NFLMS), which is currently being rolled out to police forces across England and Wales and will be ready by the summer.

Home secretary John Reid said: "There is not a single solution to keeping guns off our streets and our children out of harms way. Contributions to this summit have made it clear that effective policing and tough penalties must go hand in hand with education, community action, and the personal responsibility of young people themselves."

This article was originally published at Kablenet.

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