Two shooting incidents in the space of a few hours in the Lidget Green and Heaton areas have renewed concerns of a prevailing gun culture in the city.

But a senior Bradford Police officer has disputed this and argued that in fact there has been a reduction in gun crime.

Chief Superintendent Allan Doherty has said he believes a new proactive approach to firearms policing is responsible for a down-turn in gun-related incidents.

Figures released to the Telegraph & Argus by West Yorkshire Police show that since April last year there have been 20 firearms-related incidents in Bradford district compared to 27 for the previous 12 months.

Commenting on the figures, Chief Supt Doherty said: “Bradford is a large city and a large district and it must be looked at against similar environments; cities such as Manchester Liverpool or Nottingham. When Bradford is compared to places such as these you can see the problem in context.

“We are seeing a downward trend in the number of incidents here. West Yorkshire Police has been working with other forces such as Greater Manchester Police in terms of developing a strategy as we recognise we have a similar problem.

“I don’t accept there is a gun culture in Bradford. I have been a police officer here for 30 years and from the day I joined there have always been guns on the streets of Bradford but I believe our response is more professional now than ever.

“A lot of routine police activity ultimately can affect the level of gun crime. Bradford District Drug Squad, during the course of its work, has come across a lot of firearms and managed to take them off the streets. We also have a very professional firearms team on the streets 24 hours a day, seven days a week and this acts as a deterrent to criminals.

“Due to the speed of our response they know there is a good chance we will stop them and find the weapon. We also have a dedicated pro-active firearms team which plans operations and an armed crime tactical team which has made significant arrests.”

He added: “There have recently been shootings in Bradford district and there can be clusters of localised incidents, often disputes between criminal groups where firearms are used. But in such cases the police come down very hard on them. In context I don’t think the problem is getting worse. It is something we take very seriously and we are very keen to hear from the public, people who may have family members they suspect of having a gun. If anyone has any information they should tell police, by calling Crimestoppers if they wish to remain anonymous or speak to these people and get them to hand the weapon in. We would much rather a gun was handed in than it was used in a crime or the person using it was themselves injured or killed.”

Anyone with any information regarding guns or gun crime can contact police via Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

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