Merseyside Police is joining police forces from across the North West in appealing for people to ‘Give up the Gun’ with a two week surrender of firearms and ammunition, which started at 7am today (Monday 4 April 2016).
It’s been almost two years since the last firearms surrender, where forces ask members of the public to surrender unlawfully held or unwanted guns and ammunition to prevent them from getting into the wrong hands.
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 the chance to dispose of the firearm or ammunition with no questions asked, by simply taking it to a local police station and handing it in – before a police operation to retrieve them takes place.
The surrender will be held for two weeks from Monday 4 April at 7am to 11.59pm on Monday 18 April. 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 and can remain anonymous. During the last surrender on Merseyside, in 2014, a total of 126 weapons including 25 shotguns, five rifles and 11 handguns were handed in together with a large quantity of ammunition. The fight against firearms is stronger than ever, thanks to round the clock disruption from police across the North West and Merseyside Police are working together with partners to safeguard, educate and intervene at the earliest opportunity.
Through collaboration with partner agencies and the general public, we use various intelligence-led methods 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.
One weapon off the streets is one less that can be used to harm or threaten our communities. We will use all of the powers and information available to us to locate this criminality and put a stop to it for good. Assistant Chief Constable Nikki Holland said: “The firearms surrender will run in tandem with our on-going proactive approach to taking firearms off the streets. “In recent years there have been some changes in legislation 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 and ammunition can be surrendered at the following police stations: Birkenhead, Marsh Lane, Huyton, St Helens, St Anne Street and Admiral Street.
ACC Holland added: “I’ve seen first-hand the destruction that guns have caused to families and communities in our area. Every weapon removed from the streets potentially represents a life saved, or indeed many lives saved. So take this opportunity to do the right thing and get rid of that deadly weapon. This surrender will help us realise our goal of having streets that are safe and free from guns.”
If you know of people involved in illegal firearms call the MSOC gun crime hotline on 0800 230 0600 or the confidential Crimestoppers line on 0800 555 111. Merseyside Police will act on all information provided in relation to gun crime. Crimestoppers is offering a reward up to £1000 for information that leads to the recovery of a firearm and an arrest and conviction.
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