Merseyside Firearms Surrender – Merseyside
On Friday, 7 November 2014, Merseyside Police will be launching a two week initiative designed to give people who are in possession of illegal firearms the opportunity to hand them in. This also extends to antique, replica and decommissioned firearms.
Did you know that changes in legislation earlier this year now mean that anyone previously convicted of possessing firearms, or ammunition, who has served a sentence of between three months and three years is prohibited from possessing antique firearms for five years? Those sentenced to more than three years are permanently prohibited from possessing them. People who are unaware of the changes in legislation could be committing an offence.
The firearms surrender is a forcewide campaign aimed at those in our communities who may possess, and now wish to safely dispose of, an illegally held firearm. Those persons who physically surrender illegal firearms to the police will not face prosecution for possession of the firearm, however detectives will investigate the history and use of the firearms.
Detective Superintendent Mike Shaw, from the Matrix Serious Organised Crime Team, explained: “Merseyside Police is relentless in its approach to tackling gun crime and last year we proactively took nearly 200 guns off our streets thanks to information we received from our communities.
“The firearms surrender will run in tandem with our on-going proactive approach to taking firearms off the streets. There have been some changes in legislation in the last 12 months in relation to antique firearms and some people may also have replica and decommissioned firearms in their homes because they have inherited them, or have a genuine interest in collecting military weapons and paraphernalia.
“These weapons could be targeted by those involved in serious and organised crime who may see the opportunities of converting and using them in criminality.
“So if you do own any weapons like this, think long and hard about the potential consequences. In the wrong hands, these guns can be reactivated and used to cause fear and intimidation, or even worse could be used to seriously injure, or kill, someone. Every gun surrendered is one less that can be used by criminals to commit serious offences.”
Weapons can be surrendered at the following police stations over the next two weeks:
Birkenhead police station
Marsh Lane police station in Bootle (8am-10pm)
Huyton police station, Lathom Road
St Helens police station, College Street
St Anne Street police station, Islington
Admiral Street in Toxteth
If, for any reason, members of the public have a firearm they want to hand in, but can’t make it to a police station they can call 101 and advise the operator that they have a weapon they wish to surrender as part of Operation Gresty.The surrender does not provide immunity from prosecution for the life of a firearm. It is intended to provide an amnesty for possession of the firearm at the point of surrender/handover to a lawful authority.
Any possession (by persons other than those physically surrendering the firearm to the police) or use of the firearm (by any person) prior to surrender, may be the subject of an ongoing investigation and officers may still consider prosecution. Possession of an illegal firearm is an offence, and the courts can impose a minimum five year sentence on conviction.
Detective Superintendent Shaw added: “Last year the number of firearms discharges across Merseyside decreased by 41 per cent, but we aren’t complacent in our fight against gun crime and we would urge you to help us make our streets safer.
“We would also like to reassure legitimate firearms licence-holders that these measures will enhance their rights and privileges to own firearms, by removing illegally held firearms from the wrong hands. Licence holders are also encouraged to use this opportunity to consider the surrender of weapons they may no longer have a use for.”
Members of the public who have any information about those involved in gun crime, or who know where weapons are being stored, are urged to contact the Matrix Serious Organised Crime Team on 0800 230 0600. Alternatively people can call the independent charity, Crimestoppers, anonymously on 0800 555 111 – Merseyside Police will act on all information provided in relation to gun crime.
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