Nottinghamshire Police is joining forces around the country to hold a firearms surrender.
Following the success of a firearms and ammunition amnesty in the county earlier this year the Association of Chief Police Officers has invited all UK police forces to hold a firearms surrender.
The surrender is being supported by National Ballistics Intelligence Service (NABIS) and is aimed at local people in the community who may wish to safely dispose of a firearm.
Officers said many firearms were held in innocence and ignorance of their illegality or were overlooked and forgotten in people’s homes.
To avoid the risk of these weapons becoming involved in criminality, and to provide members of the community with a safe place to dispose of any firearms or ammunition a surrender is running until Friday 21st November 2014.
During that period, those surrendering firearms will not face prosecution for the illegal possession and they can remain anonymous. However, the history of each live weapon will be checked for evidence of its use in crimes.
Detective Inspector Karen Pearson said: “We had an overwhelming response to our amnesty back in March with more than 200 weapons surrendered. Based on this success ACPO have encouraged other Forces around the country to hold a weapon surrender and we are pleased to support this.”
“In particular we’re asking people to think about the consequences of keeping an illegal firearm. The law comes down hard on anyone possessing one illegally – even if they are keeping it for someone else. This surrender gives you the opportunity to surrender firearms with no questions asked.”
“Firearms licence holders can be reassured that these measures merely enhance their rights and privileges to own firearms, by removing the dangerous ones from the wrong hands.”
“Together with our partners we continually work hard to educate young people about firearms and the dangers that come with them, to ensure that gun crime doesn’t become prevalent in the future.”
The surrender is timely following the recent changes in firearms legislation. The laws around antique firearms have been tightened which mean that someone who has served or received a criminal sentence can no longer possess an antique gun.
The sentencing guidelines for possession for sale or transfer of an unauthorised firearm or ammunition have also been raised. This offence now carries a maximum penalty of life.
Anyone handing in a firearm, or a stun gun, during the surrender is advised to check the opening times of the police stations participating in the amnesty and where possible phone 101 before travelling. They will then be advised on how to best transport the weapon responsibly from home to the police station.
Paddy Tipping, Nottinghamshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner added: “Thankfully gun crime is not prolific in the City or the County, but one incident is one too many. Firearms in the wrong hands are potentially lethal weapons, and I hope people will see this as a good opportunity to hand over unwanted and illegal guns of any kind or age, putting them safely where they can’t harm anyone. Quite simply, it could save lives.”