European Parliament crackdown on criminal gangs

Brussels, 30th November 2007 — The European Parliament yesterday unanimously approved powers to increase control over imported weapons being used by criminal gangs across the UK.

The measures address the issue of replica weapons, easily converted into lethal weapons in back-street workshops.

Proposals also cover guns that have been taken out of service. In the UK all such weapons have to be de-activated to a standard that they are incapable of being re-activated, but this is not the position elsewhere in the EU.

Leading British Policemen said plans to address this would be a “critical factor in tackling armed criminality within the UK”.

The Firearms Directive will also improve the traceability of weapons, helping customs officials deal with criminals smuggling weapons into the UK.

The legislation will come into force by January with a transposition deadline of 2010.

Sir Robert said:

“This legislation will help officials trace smuggled guns back to the source factories that are producing these dangerous weapons being used by criminal gangs in the UK.

“The new powers are strongly supported by the Association of Chief Police Officers and are the result of a year’s work in negotiating a tough agreement.”

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