Figures provided by the Office for National Statistics for the year ending December 2015 show 5,122 offences involving firearms were recorded in England and Wales, a 4% increase compared with the previous year (4,922). This follows a general downward trend in these offences since the year ending March 2006.
Additional analysis of offences involving firearms by weapon type shows that the 4% increase seen in the last year is driven by increases in offences involving imitation firearms and "other" firearms.
Over 80% of offences involving imitation firearms involved BB guns or soft air weapons.
Airsoft weapons are used in airsoft skirmishing activities and are exact replicas of prohibited guns and the most dangerous military weapons. Airsoft gun enthusiasts acquire collections of replica airsoft guns and dress up and use them in simulated military situations acting out violent combat warrier fantasies.
Infer Trust offers support and advice to individuals and communities who have concerns about the activities of Airsoft Skirmishing activities and the impact the proliferation of thes euncontrolled sites have on the local community and on gun crime.
Despite this latest increase, the overall level of firearms offences remained 54% below its peak.
Source: Data - Office for National Statistics