Xcalibre is Greater Manchester Police's response to tackling gun crime in Greater Manchester and it aims to reduce the number of firearms related incidents and remove or negate the supply of firearms and ammunition. Since its launch in 2004, there has been a year on year decrease in the number of firearms incidents. Xcalibre focuses on challenging the gun culture and bringing criminals to justice through high profile, tough operational policing activities. The team proactively targets known individuals who pose the greatest threat by adopting tactics that disrupt and interfere with their daily activities.
Although police play an important role in tackling gun crime, they cannot do it alone. Other agencies and communities themselves also have a crucial part to play in addressing some of the deep-seated problems that underpin gun crime.
Although gun crime in Wigan, accounts for a very small percentage of all crime, Xcalibre is constantly adopting different tactics to tackle the changes in the way society is using weapons and is determined never to be complacent.
Greater Manchester Police will always target those individuals resolute in continuing to adopt this lifestyle and work closely with the local communities who are affected by it.
Your Questions Answered
Q- How old do you have to be to have an air weapon or shotgun?
A- In January 2004 the terms of the Anti- social Behaviour Act 2003 amended the age at which young persons may have an air weapon in their possession. This means that no one under 17 years will be able to have with them an air weapon at any time unless supervised by someone who is aged at least 21 years unless they are shooting at an approved target shooting club or shooting gallery.
A young person between 14 – 16 years may shoot an air weapon on private premises providing they have the prior consent of the owner/occupier and providing any missile fired does not go beyond the boundary of those premises.
The Act also made it an offence to make a gift of an air weapon or ammunition to a person under the age of 17 years.
It is also an offence to have an air weapon in a public place without lawful authority or reasonable excuse.
A person under the age of 17 may not purchase a firearm or ammunition.
Q- Are BB guns toys? Can they be in the possession of young children?
A- BB guns (which fire plastic or aluminium balls) by different methods such as compressed air or an electrical system) may or may not be firearms and so may or may not be prohibited.
The soft air type of BB gun which is 'toy like' (though it may be a little too powerful to be officially classed as a toy) does not fit within the definition of a section 1 firearm because it is usually too low powered and is probably designed to fire plastic/aluminium pellets. It will normally have a very low power rating, compared to an average air weapon.
An air weapon is powerful enough to injure and kill in the right circumstances, and, does therefore fit within the definition of a firearm (but is not powerful enough to be a section 1 firearm). The average air weapon is probably about 150 times more powerful than a 'toy like' soft BB gun.
So if you are unsure whether your BB gun is legal or not, then it is worth checking with your police force's firearms department who will be able to advise you.
Given the nature of BB guns and their capabilities then it is not advisable to allow them to be in possession of young children. Also be aware that many BB guns are extremely realistic and the police treat all reports involving weapons as if they are real live firearms.
Q- Can I have an imitation firearm?
A- Yes, however it is an offence to possess an imitation firearm in a public place.
An imitation firearm has been defined as 'anything, which has the appearance of a firearm'. Many imitation weapons are very realistic and until the weapon has been seized it is difficult to ascertain whether it is genuine or not.
All calls to police involving firearms are treated as if it is a genuine firearm so be aware that if you do wave an imitation firearm around you could find yourself surrounded by firearms officers pointing real weapons at you.