POLICE recorded dozens of gun offences in Thames Valley last year, new figures show.

Thames Valley Police recorded 67 crimes with a gun in 2018-2019, according to Home Office data.

That's an increase from the 62 offences recorded in 2017-18.

The incidents include offences where a firearm has been fired, used as a blunt instrument or as a threat.

Offences with low-powered weapons such as BB guns and pepper spray are included in police figures, alongside shotguns, handguns and rifles. However, with the data excluding crimes involving air weapons, the real number may be higher.

It means there were three firearms offences per 100,000 population in Thames Valley – below the national average of 11.

Across England and Wales, 9,787 gun offences were recorded last year – nearly 60per cent lower than the level recorded at its peak in 2003-04, according to the Office for National Statistics.

This is despite offences rising last year to the highest level nationally since 2010-11.

The Office for National statistics said the rise in firearms crimes could be down to improvements in recording by police forces – with recorded stun gun and pepper spray cases seeing the biggest rises nationally.

The most common crime category involving a firearm last year was violence against the person, followed by criminal damage and robbery.

Kit Malthouse, Minister for Crime, Policing and the Fire Service said: “We are taking action to make our streets safer and protect people from violence.

“We are recruiting 20,000 new police officers, giving them more powers to take dangerous weapons off our streets and ensuring serious violent and sexual offenders spend longer behind bars.

"The Offensive Weapons Act introduces new laws which will give police extra powers to seize dangerous weapons."