A firearms chief has reassured members of the public after The Star revealed one person is shot and injured in South Yorkshire every week.
Figures obtained by The Star under the Your Right to Know campaign showed 278 people had been shot and hurt – 54 seriously – across South Yorkshire in the last five years.
Chief Inspector Caroline Rollit, who leads South Yorkshire Police’s firearms support group, said: “All figures concern us, certainly where firearms are used, but there is nothing in there to show we have seen a spike in real problems.
“Certainly we have a number of organised criminal gangs in the county that we are investigating on a daily basis and have had some very successful prosecutions.
“A lot of it is people using air pistols to go and do robberies, it’s not like the streets are awash with contraband firearms.”
The firearms group – which has 90 officers – works on schemes such as prevention workshops in schools and with cash-in-transit providers around busy holiday periods to crack down on gun crime.
Chf Insp Rollit said there had not been a single cash-in-transit firearms robbery in the last three years.
She added: “In comparison with other crimes gun crime is still a very rare crime in Sheffield.
“Where firearms are used it’s in specific crimes and sometimes that is between organised crime gangs with each other,
“Anybody we catch carrying a firearm to intimidate or threaten people they will, if found guilty, go to prison and they will go to prison for some time.
“It is seen as that serious.
“And what they will find is that firearms officers will be coming to their address.”
The figures showed 1,741 crimes since 2008 involving firearms being used, brandished or simply seen.
Most of the shootings were categorised as ‘violence against the person’.
Eleven were personal robberies and eight were robberies of businesspeople at workplaces.
Guns were recorded as having been used in 556 attacks, 273 robberies and two sexual offences.