Home secretary John Reid has announced a new information database to help tackle increasing gun crime.
A three-pronged approach will see new gun offences introduced, more support for community groups and the increased use of technology for linking weapons to incidents – which is where the new database comes into play.
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Reid announced his plans after last week’s gun summit at Downing Street, held after several gun fatalities and injuries in London and Manchester this month.
From next year, police will be able to access details of all legally-bought firearms and use new technology to identify if weapons have been used before, making it easier to trace the source of the weapon.
The National Firearms Database is currently being rolled out across England and Wales, giving forces access to a single database of all lawfully held weapons and their owners within England and Wales.
From April 2008, details of all weapons and ammunition recovered from a crime scene will be recorded on the new National Ballistics Intelligence Database (NABID), and will be accessible to all 43 police forces in England and Wales.
At the moment, individual police forces use the paid-for services of the Forensic Science Service to identify weapon usage, and this has been deemed to be too expensive.
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