The Times features an important interview with Bernard Hogan-Howe, the Chief Constable of Merseyside Police. In it, he takes issue with the sentences meted out to those found guilty of gun possession. According to Home Office guidelines, there should be a mandatory five-year minimum sentence for those caught with a firearm. Yet the average sentence dished out by judges is 47 months, or just under 4 years.
Of course, judges should share some of the blame for this situation, and they can play their part in remedying it. But I doubt they've been helped by the Government begging for lighter sentencing whenever our inadequate prisons get too full.