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Gun crime figures show the 'reality' for children in UK says Christian group
A Christian group has told Premier that it is unsurprised that more than 15-hundred children - including some as young as 10 - have been arrested for gun offences in the last three years.
Figures from police forces across the UK show a 20% jump in the number of cases in the last 12 months.
- Kent Police: 13-year-old boy and a girl aged 15 were charged with possessing imitation firearms
- North Wales Police: 13-year-old boy arrested for possession of a firearm or imitation firearm with intent to cause fear of violence, girl aged 13 was charged after police seized a BB gun in 2015
- Nottinghamshire Police: seven children under the age of 11 arrested for suspected firearm offences since 2013
- Derbyshire Constabulary: 10-year-old boy among six children charged with a firearm offence since 2013
Figures from 29 forces which provided the number of child arrests for suspected gun crimes each year showed the number rose from 423 in 2014 to 507 in 2015.
Revd Steve Chalke, from the Oasis Trust, told Premier something needs to be done now: "If we create a society with a lack of hope, a lack of meaning, a lack of voice, a lack of belonging, a society that does not give identity to the most vulnerable, to marginalised people - they'll seek that identity, that hope, that purpose elsewhere."
He also said that he was not surprised that children as young as 10 years old were among hundreds of youngsters arrested for suspected gun crimes in the last three years suggesting that this is real life for many people.
He continued: "It's because we live in a divided society that there are so many of us that don't understand this is the reality of Britain for so many young people today - but understanding itself isn't enough, what we have to do is take action."
Britain's biggest force, the Metropolitan Police, said 679 children were arrested for suspected firearm offences between 2013 and January 2016, including 30 children aged under 13. A total of 212 children were charged with firearm offences in the same period, the force said.
Revd Steve Chalke told Premier that is a lack of mentors that can lead young people down the wrong path: "A lack of purpose, a lack of voice, young people who find themselves on the outskirts of society for whatever reason - and then the gang and gang-culture becomes the only false promise of community."
Listen to Premier's Hannah Tooley speak to Revd Steve Chalk here: