Statistics on air weapons since change in law: FOI release

Information request and response under the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002.

FOI reference: FOI/17/02176
Date received: 25 September 2017
Date responded: 5 October 2017

Information requested

Statistics on air weapons, since the change in the law.

  1. How many people have been prosecuted for having an air gun without a certificate?

  2. How many offences involving air guns there have been this year and how many of the air guns involved were owned by a person with a AW certificate?


The answer to your question is as follows:

1. The latest available information for Criminal Proceedings in Scotland is for the financial year 2015-16 and there were no prosecutions for offences under the Air Weapons and Licensing (S) Act 2015 in that year. Air weapon offences as a result of the Act did not come into effect until 31 December 2016. Data for 2016-17 will be available in early 2018. Our database presents criminal proceedings concluded in Scottish courts. The Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service (COPFS) maintains a live database and may be able to provide you with up to date statistics on all prosecutions commenced and concluded since the act came in to force.

2. In 2015-16, the latest year for which statistics are available, there were 158 offences that involved the alleged use of an air weapon, a decrease of 15% since 2014-15. This figure includes only when an air weapon was alleged to have been involved in the commission of a crime or offence and does not include any offences where an individual was only found in the possession of an air weapon. Further breakdowns of these statistics are available in the Recorded Crimes and Offences involving firearms, Scotland, 2014-15 & 2015-16 bulletin published in October 2016. The statistics for the 2016-17 financial year are due to be published later in 2017.

The Scottish Government does not hold any information on whether the individuals who committed these offences possessed the relevant air weapons licences. However, it is possible that Police Scotland may be able to provide this information and we recommend contacting them through their website.

As of 31 December 2016 the Air Weapons and Licensing (Scotland) Act 2015 made it an offence for a person to use, possess, purchase or acquire an air weapon without holding an air weapon certificate. In 2016-17, the police recorded 55 offences under this legislation, however this represents only a partial year as this act came into force part way through 2016-17. The Recorded Crime in Scotland 2017-18 bulletin, to be published in 2018, will be the first publication to provide a full year's worth of statistics relating to violations of this legislation.

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