Since in 1993, as many as 90 deaths linked to racism have been reported. But all this may change with the Government training its guns at illegal firearms. The Home office is holding a consultation on strengthening the law on illegal firearms. The consultation has been launched by the Home Secretary as part of the government’s drive to end gang and youth violence.
It comes just about a month after 23-year-old Indian student Anuj Bidve in Manchester was murdered allegedly as a part of a "gang initiation" process. He was shot in the head at close range as he walked with friends in Salford, Greater Manchester, on Boxing Day
The motiveless killing sent shock waves nationally and internationally, particularly in India from where the victim hails. The police had been treating the murder as a hate crime.
Already, move is on to help the victims of hate crime, racial abuse and others find solace in the fact that justice is being done to them by keeping a track of police investigations.
From May 2012, they will be able to use www.police.uk to see what happens after a crime has occurred in terms of a police action or a justice outcome.
Have your say
As a part of the latest consultation, the public, police, Crown Prosecution Service, victims groups, the judiciary, voluntary and community organisations will be asked their views on: the need for a new offence of possession of illegal firearms with intent to supply; and whether to increase the penalty for illegal importation of firearms
The UK has some of the toughest gun laws in the world and as a result firearm offences continue to make up a small proportion of overall recorded crime.
But, gun crime associated with street gangs and organised criminals, particularly in largest cities, is a cause of major concern with young people featuring disproportionately among both perpetrators and victims.
Targeting illegal firearms users
Home Secretary Theresa May said: 'We need to target not just those who use illegal firearms but those who import or supply them. These middle men are as responsible as those who pull the trigger for the terrible harm gun crime causes.
'We must ensure our laws properly punish and deter all criminals and protect our communities. That’s why, as part of the cross-government work to end gang and youth violence, we are giving the police and local agencies all the tools and powers they need.'
Shooting new laws
While there are a range of existing offences, none deal specifically with possession with intent to supply illegal firearms.
At the same time, the police have argued that current maximum penalty for illegal importation – 10 years’ imprisonment – is too lenient and does not reflect the harm caused by firearms to our communities.
Contribute to the online consultation which will run for 12 weeks. It is the latest government action to deliver on commitments in Ending Gang and Youth Violence published in November 2011.