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Why weapons seizures in France jumped last year

The head of France’s office against organised crime said 30% of weapons seized each year are found during drug trafficking investigations

More than 8,000 weapons were seized last year Pic: Jose HERNANDEZ Camera 51 / Shutterstock

French authorities seized almost 10% more weapons in 2022 than the year before, including almost 300 ‘weapons of war’, France’s office against organised crime has said.

In total, 8,027 weapons were seized, a jump of 9.5% year-on-year, said the Office central de lutte contre la criminalité organisée (OCLCO).

In 2021, 7,330 weapons were seized.

Of those seized in 2022, 297 were category A war weapons, the office said.

Yann Sourisseau, head of the OCLCO, said: “This rise in the number of weapons seized doesn’t necessarily mean that there are more weapons out there, but that the police and gendarmerie services are finding more of them.

“This is due to work by the interior security forces, the judicial police, and public security services, who, by multiplying investigations into trafficking, by checking more people on public roads, and by carrying out more search operations, were able to reveal the presence of more firearms in the country.”

Drug trafficking and organised crime

Mr Sourisseau added that "about 30% of the weapons seized each year" are found during drug trafficking investigations. 

He said: "This shows the major trends in organised crime for the past 10 to 20 years. Arms trafficking is not an economically profitable activity [because] unlike drugs, a weapon is not consumable. Once its user has bought it, they will keep it.”

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