September 26, 2007 / 1:19 PM / 11 years ago

Boys shot as Brown cracks down on gun crime

LONDON (Reuters) - A teenager has been charged with shooting at police in Liverpool and two others were hurt after being fired at in Manchester, just days after Prime Minister Gordon Brown announced new powers to tackle gun violence.

Manchester and Liverpool were last week identified as “hotspot” cities for gun crime, alongside Birmingham and London. Between them they account for most shootings and gun deaths, the Home Office says.

Greater Manchester Police appealed for witnesses on Wednesday after two boys, aged 12 and 15, were injured in a drive-by shooting in the Fallowfield area.

They were taken to hospital with only minor injuries after a car pulled up and opened fire on Lloyd Street late on Tuesday.

In Liverpool, an 18-year-old was charged with the attempted murder of two police officers in the Kirkdale area of the city late on Monday. Both officers escaped injury.

Anthony Bennett was arrested at the scene on Tuesday and was due to appear before magistrates on Wednesday.

During his first speech as leader to the Labour Party Conference in Bournemouth, Gordon Brown unveiled plans to extend the use of police stop-and-search powers and use undercover officers to tackle gun crime.

Brown also announced his intention to equip police with hand-held metal detectors in the four hot-spot cities.

“The police will now match intensive uniformed patrolling and extensive undercover work with the use of stop and search powers and dispersal powers reinforced by new hand-held weapons detectors,” Brown said.

The shootings are the latest in a series of stabbings and shootings across the country this year, much of it linked to gang culture.

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