In April 2018, Project SAFTE (Studying the Acquisition of Illicit Firearms by Terrorists in Europe) conducted by experts from around Europe, led by the Flemish Peace Institute, published this report following In-depth country studies conducted in 8 EU member states by research teams (Belgium, Croatia, Denmark, Italy, France, Netherlands, Romania and UK), with chapters on neighbours North Africa and Ukraine.
The UK chapter from the report –
FROM THE IRA TO ISIS: EXPLORING TERRORIST ACCESS TO THE UK’S ILLICIT FIREARMS MARKET
This focuses on the illicit firearms market in the UK and the ways in which terrorists can access this market. Researchers have noted that a number of sources provide information on illegal firearms use in the UK (e.g. crime data and crime reduction evaluations, police reports, media reports), but limited research has been undertaken to understand the dynamics and key players in the UK illegal firearms market. Previous research undertaken on terrorist acquisition of firearms in the UK has focused primarily on the methods used by the IRA and other terrorist organisations involved in the conflict in Northern Ireland, with a strong emphasis on the international dimension of such acquisitions. Therefore, the report says, academic and policy-oriented research lags behind policy interest in terms of terrorist access to the UK illicit firearms market. The report seeks to address this lacuna by using a mixture of quantitative and qualitative investigative method.