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From Keighley News, March 5th, 2018
Written by David Knights

THE NUMBER of firearms incidents in Keighley dropped from 21 to 17 last year. But the number in the Shipley area – which includes Denholme, Cullingworth, Wilsden and Harden – rose by 54 per cent, from 13 to 20.The figures compare with a rise of a third in firearms incidents across the whole Bradford district, with the statistics this week described as “hugely concerning” by Shipley MP Philip Davies.

 Statistics provided by West Yorkshire Police under the Freedom of Information Act showed 134 firearms discharges in 2016, but this figure rose to 182 incidents last year, an increase of 36 per cent.

These figures include shots targeted at houses, pubs, shops, an amusement arcade, churches, a nursery, a signal box and a police station.

Commenting on the data, Philip Davies, Conservative MP for Shipley, said: “These figures are hugely concerning, and this sort of serious, violent crime is a great worry to the public.

“This is why I repeatedly call for more funding for the police and tougher sentences handed out by the courts. We must drive these criminals from the streets.”

John Grogan, Labour MP for Keighley, said gun crime had fallen in the early part of the 21st century as a result of legislation which reduced access to firearms.

He said: “The recent increase is associated largely with gang and drug-related offences.

“I have to say I also agree with the Police Federation who say that cuts in police numbers over the last decade have not helped considerably said the when it comes to gathering vital intelligence.”

In 2016, the number of incidents in which firearms were shot at ‘a person’ stood at 35, with 25 resulting in injuries. A total of 24 of the injuries were categorised by police as ‘slight’, with one incident proving fatal.

In 2017, the number of firearms incidents involving people rose to 49, an increase of 40 per cent, resulting in 40 injuries, all but two recorded as ‘slight’.

West Yorkshire Police this week said that firearms discharges were a “serious matter” that understandably caused concerns in local communities.

Superintendent Jon Morgan said: “With a continued commitment to accurately record crime, West Yorkshire Police has seen an increase in the overall use of firearms, but this should be put into context.

“The figures include all forms of firearms, ranging from lethal weapons used for a criminal purpose to ball-bearing guns and air weapons that have not been used with any criminal intent.”

He said that, in the last 12 months, Bradford had seen discharges resulting in serious injury or fatality reduce by a quarter.”