NABIS Issue Latest Firearms Statistics

18th November 2015

NABIS intends to issue national firearms statistics on a more regular basis to reassure the public about the UK gun crime threat.

The decision follows interest in the NABIS presentation to the Law Commission earlier this year. The Law Commission are reviewing firearms legislation to try to close any loopholes which could be exploited by criminals; they will report back in the new year.

Detective Chief Superintendent Jo Chilton is Head of NABIS. She explained: "We cannot afford to be complacent about the firearms threat in the UK but many people probably don't realise what the picture looks like when it comes to gun crime.

"Guns are not that easy to get hold of in the UK and this is demonstrated by the fact that we see the same gun being used more than once. Because guns are scarce criminals are turning to alternatives like antique weapons which can be bought legally. They become illegal when matched with ammunition as they can then be used as a firearm; without ammunition they are classified as an ornament."

The number of firearms discharges has fallen 67% between 2005/06 and 2014/15.

The latest statistics being issued are for the period 1 July to 30 September 2015. They show that 79 inferred firearms reported on this quarter are still outstanding. An inferred weapon is one that we know exists due to analysis of ballistic material from crime scenes. However the gun has not been retrieved.

Out of the 79 inferred weapons, 13 of these have been previously used and 11 previously identified as inferred have been recovered during this quarter.

Det Ch Supt Chilton added: "The minimum sentence for possession of certain firearms is five years in prison. British laws and border controls are much stricter than in other parts of the world."

Pistols and revolvers remain the most common type of firearm used by offenders in the UK. Since NABIS began in 2009 only one shots fired incident has identified an assault rifle as an inferred weapon.

NABIS was set up in 2008 to work with police forces across the UK and help them tackle gun crime. There are four NABIS hubs in Birmingham, London, Manchester and Glasgow.

For more information about the Law Commission firearms review visit

NABIS Quarterly Update July to September 2015 

news Archive

NABIS database