Firearms amnesty introduced after gun crime rises by 27%

Credit Alex Malikov

The police have launched a two week gun surrender campaign - hoping to get people to hand in illegal war trophies and guns owned by criminals.

While there are designated police stations for the surrender, the public can go to any police station and they will accept any and all firearms and ammunition.

Others are acquired and distributed by criminal networks to harm, threaten and intimidate their local communities.

Firearms and ammunition must not be left outside any police building if it is closed, nor handed in before or after the surrender period.

Detective Superintendent Steve Williams, North Wales Police said: "Given the largely rural setting of our area, it may well be that people hold unlicensed firearms that have been handed down to them from relatives for example".

Richard Kennett, Firearms Licensing Manager for Norfolk and Suffolk Constabularies, said: "Some people may have un-registered, old weapons that they have forgotten about, or have received one through inheritance that they no longer use, or that they don't know what to do with". This is an opportunity to dispose of them safely.

Gun crime has surged this year, with the latest victim a 26-year-old man, Khalid Abdi Farah, who was shot dead in Southall, west London, in the early hours of Saturday, November 11. However, I'd urge everyone to take stock and consider whether they need all the firearms and ammunition they own and if not, take advantage of this surrender to hand them in to be safely and securely disposed of.

During the two-week period, people handing over firearms will not face prosecution for illegal possession and can remain anonymous.

He said intelligence-led operations have smashed a number of gun-running rings, such as the one in Kent which brought in 31 Skorpion sub-machine guns, the same weapon used during the Charlie Hebdo attack in Paris.

Sussex Police Detective Chief Inspector Steve Rayland said: "If you have any guns or ammunition you no longer want, or if you don't know what to do with them or how to safely dispose of them, we can help". We'd also encourage anyone who knows about weapons being kept illegally to tell us anonymously where there are and potentially help save a life.

"Perhaps you have a gun that has been handed down through the family or you have found a firearm in your loft or shed which has been gathering dust and you had forgotten about".

Warwickshire Police and Crime Commissioner Philip Seccombe said: "Gun crime is still thankfully rare in Warwickshire, but protecting people from harm is key commitment in my Police and Crime Plan, so this gun surrender campaign is welcome news. This way you can be confident you have got rid of a firearm safely".

According to data from the National Office of Statistics, more than two-thirds of police forces recorded a rise in offences involving firearms in the year from June 2016.

The last national firearms surrender took place in 2014 and more than 6,000 firearms and thousands of rounds of ammunition were recovered by police forces across the UK.

"The surrender not only applies to firearms and ammunition, but includes replica firearms, air weapons, BB guns, imitation firearms, component parts and other ballistic items".

NABIS and police forces across the United Kingdom are working with partners such as the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) and the Local Government Association (LGA), to ensure the surrender fortnight of action is a success.

Anyone who unable to visit any of these stations is advised to contact North Wales Police on 101 to make alternative arrangements.

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