Firearms Importation Offences

Closed 8 Sep 2021

Opened 17 Jun 2021


What is the Sentencing Council?

The Sentencing Council is the independent body responsible for developing sentencing guidelines which courts in England and Wales must follow when passing a sentence. The Council consults on its proposed guidelines before they come into force and makes changes to the guidelines as a result of consultations.

What is this consultation about?

The Council is proposing to issue a sentencing guideline for offences of importation of firearms. Currently, there are no sentencing guidelines for firearms importation offences for use in either magistrates’ courts or the Crown Court.

The Council has produced this consultation in order to seek the views of as many people as possible interested in the sentencing of firearms importation offences.

However, it is important to clarify that the Council is consulting on sentencing these offences and not the legislation upon which such offences are based. The relevant legislation is a matter for Parliament and is, therefore, outside the scope of this exercise.

Which offences are covered by the draft guideline?

The Council is consulting on one guideline covering two offences under the Customs and Excise Management Act 1979: sections 50 (improper importation of goods) and 170 (fraudulent evasion of prohibition / restriction).

What else is happening as part of the consultation process?

This is a 12 week public consultation. During the consultation stage, we intend to hold discussions with interested parties and sentencers to invite feedback and gauge whether the new guideline would work as anticipated. This should provide some further understanding of the likely impact of the guideline on sentencing practice. Once results of the consultation and the discussions have been considered, the final guidelines will be published and used by all courts.

Alongside this consultation, the Council has produced a statistical bulletin and a resource assessment. These can be found on the Sentencing Council’s website:

Following the conclusion of this consultation exercise, a response will be published at:

We will treat all responses as public documents in accordance with the Freedom of Information Act and we may attribute comments and include a list of all respondents’ names in any final report we publish. If you wish to submit a confidential response, you should contact us before sending the response. PLEASE NOTE – We will disregard automatic confidentiality statements generated by an IT system.

In addition, responses may be shared with the Justice Committee of the House of Commons.

Our privacy notice sets out the standards that you can expect from the Sentencing Council when we request or hold personal information (personal data) about you; how you can get access to a copy of your personal data; and what you can do if you think the standards are not being met.


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