FOI Reference: FOI/2022/4247

You asked

I would like to submit a freedom of information request for data on the rate of gun crime in the United Kingdom in the years 1940-1960. If possible, I would also like to request the data be stratified by area, and type of firearm used too.

We said

Thank you for your request.

We have two main sources of data on crime, the Crime Survey for England and Wales (CSEW) and police recorded crime.

The Crime Survey for England and Wales is a victimisation survey, which asks people resident in households in England and Wales about their experiences of crime.

Police recorded crime data are supplied by the Home Office, who are responsible for the collation of recorded crime data supplied by the 43 territorial police forces of England and Wales, plus the British Transport Police.

Offences involving firearms are collected by the Home Office. They reflect any notifiable offence recorded by the police where a firearm has been fired, used as a blunt instrument or in a threat. Unfortunately, we do not hold data on the use of firearms for the years that you have requested. However, the historic data back to 2003 can be found in the following publication, showing offences involving the use of weapons: Offences involving the use of weapons: data tables.

As this data is collected by the Home Office, they may be able to provide a more complete time series, they can be contacted at

For further enquiries regarding our crime data, please email