National Statistics on crime, previously published by the Home Office are now published by the Office of National Statistics (ONS)
Offences involving firearms* increased 4% (by 200 offences to 5,122) in the year ending December 2015 compared with the previous year. However, this was largely driven by an 18% increase in offences involving imitation and other weapons such as BB guns and soft air weapons; by contrast, offences involving handguns, shotguns and rifles decreased by 1%.
*Firearms include shotguns; handguns; rifles; imitation weapons such as BB guns or soft air weapons; other weapons such as CS gas or pepper spray and stun guns; and unidentified weapons. It excludes conventional air weapons such as air rifles.