South Australian police have announced they’re now focussing more heavily on the guns seized from criminals in an effort to tackle the rising use of illegal firearms.
The force says firearms used to commit offences are in the sights of SAPOL’s new Serious Firearm Crime Investigation Section (SFCIS).
“In a new approach, SFCIS investigators will focus on the firearm involved in an offence, not just the actual offence and offender,” a police spokesman said.
Police around Australia have been accused of not paying enough heed to the history of guns used in crimes, nor their possible connection with other incidents.
“A lot can be learnt by knowing the background of the firearm used in an offence,” Assistant Commissioner Madeleine Glynn said.
“Knowing where the firearm has come from, how it came to be in possession of the offender and whether it has been rebirthed, can help with serious crime investigations.”
The 12-person SFCIS is part of the Firearms Branch, but it will concentrate on serious firearm offences such as the use or possession of illegal firearms, theft, manufacture and trafficking, but not compliance or basic regulations.
It has already arrested a 36-year-old Craigmore man for firearms offences.
“The section provides a central area for the development of firearms prohibition orders and will manage investigations, monitor prosecutions and identify opportunities to appeal inappropriate firearms sentencing,” AC Glynn said.
“Since 2008/09, there has been a 12% increase in the number of offences against a person where a firearm was nominated as the weapon used. The number of offences has risen from 246 then to 277 in 2010/11.”
“To help tackle the problem, we’re building better, more connected firearm-related criminal intelligence to target serious firearm offenders and combat crimes such as illegal stockpiling of firearms and ammunition.”