Northumbria ACC Takes On National Firearms Role

6th July 2017

Assistant Chief Constable Helen McMillan has taken over as the new NPCC lead for Criminal Use of Firearms. She has taken over the role from Chief Constable Dave Thompson, of West Midlands Police.

ACC McMillan joined Northumbria Police in June 2017, having previously worked for Durham Police in a variety of roles - most recently as Assistant Chief Constable. She has experience of working in many operational roles, including training and professional standards departments and is an experienced firearms and public order commander.

The NPCC Criminal Use of Firearms lead chairs national meetings to discuss trends and issues and share best practice. She is the national spokesperson for the portfolio and will liaise with the Home Office, National Crime Agency (NCA), The National Ballistics Intelligence Service (NABIS) and other law enforcement agencies.

ACC McMillan said: "I am delighted to be taking over this portfolio from Chief Constable Thompson and look forward to working with police forces and other law enforcement organisations. Gun crime levels in the UK remain low, especially compared to the US or Europe. However the threat from criminal use of firearms is one which we cannot be complacent about and we must continue to tackle the problem to reassure and protect our communities."

Latest figures from the Office of National Statistics, issued in April 2017, cover the period year ending December 2016 and show an increase on the previous 12 months for firearms offences in England and Wales. Offences increased by 13% (to 5,864) compared with the previous year. This was mainly driven by a 15% increase in offences involving handguns (rising from 2,162 to 2,497), and partly by a 28% increase in offences involving shotguns (from 416 to 532) and a 10% increase in offences involving imitation weapons (such as BB guns; from 1,379 to 1,523). The recent increase in offences involving handguns is driven by increases in a small number of mainly urban forces. The increase in overall firearm offences comes after a general downward trend, with the overall level being 47% below its peak (in year ending March 2006).

NABIS, the National Ballistics Intelligence Service, was set up in 2008 and works with UK police forces investigating gun crime. Experts forensically examine ballistic material submitted to NABIS labs and identify possible matches to other crimes or incidents. NABIS is led by Detective Chief Superintendent Jo Chilton.

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