An AK47 has been handed into a Wiltshire police station on the first day of a firearms surrender campaign – in which those with illegal weapons won’t be prosecuted.
Police forces are appealing for people to hand in unwanted guns with a national two week surrender of firearms and ammunition, starting today, Monday 13 November.
Many firearms are held in innocence and ignorance of their illegality or are overlooked and forgotten in people’s homes. Others are acquired and distributed by criminal networks to harm, threaten and intimidate their local communities.
The surrender gives people the chance to dispose of firearms or ammunition by simply taking them to a local police station and handing them over.
The surrender will be held for two weeks in November 2017. Surrendering unwanted, unlicensed weapons avoids the risk of them becoming involved in criminality and means that members of the community can dispose of firearms in a safe place.
During that period, those surrendering firearms will not face prosecution for the illegal possession upon surrender and can remain anonymous.
Inspector Barry Hickman said: “Our mission is to keep people safe and protect our communities; we must never be complacent about gun crime.
“The fight against gun crime is stronger than ever and we are working with partners and our local communities to safeguard, educate and intervene at the earliest opportunity.
“We use various tactics to locate weapons that have fallen into the wrong hands – but we need the public’s help. We want as many weapons as possible and would encourage people to hand them in.
“This is a national firearms surrender, not a firearms amnesty, which means that people can hand in guns they should not have without being prosecuted for firearms possession.
“The surrender does not give amnesty for the life of the weapon and the public should be reassured that the police will continue to vigorously investigate offences linked to any firearm recovered.”
“During the surrender we want people to hand in illegally-held guns and ammunition, those used for criminal purposes or that you have been asked to hide for someone else. We will also accept other unwanted guns and ammunition including air guns and imitations firearms.
“One weapon off the streets is one less that can be used to harm or threaten our communities.
“If you know where a weapon is being kept illegally, now is your chance to give up the gun, or tell us anonymously where it is. You will not be prosecuted and you could save a life.”
Weapons and ammunition can be surrendered at six police stations across Wiltshire: Bourne Hill, Gablecross, Marlborough, Melksham, Monkton Park and Trowbridge.
Anyone handing in a firearm, ammunition or any other weapon during the surrender is advised to check the opening times of their station by visiting the Wiltshire Police website or by calling 101.
If you know of people involved in illegal firearms call police on 101 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.
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