West Mercia Police is supporting a national firearms surrender that aims to make our communities safer.
The surrender will run for two weeks from today until Sunday 4 August – giving members of the public the opportunity to safely dispose of a firearm by handing it in at a local police station.
The national initiative is being co-ordinated by the National Ballistics Intelligence Service (NABIS) with all forces in England and Wales taking part. The aim is to reduce the number of illegal or unlicensed firearms in circulation and in turn, to decrease the opportunities for firearms to be used in a criminal offence.
During the last surrender in 2017, more than 9,000 items were handed into police nationally. These included hand guns, rifles, shotguns, antique (obsolete calibre) guns and imitation firearms, as well as ammunition. Across West Mercia, 228 weapons were handed into local stations.
People surrendering firearms will not be required to leave any information, but if police suspect a weapon may have been involved in a crime, they will examine it for evidence. All surrendered weapons will be destroyed and in exceptional circumstances, if the weapon has historical value, it may be donated to a museum. Illegal possession of a firearm can mean five years behind bars and if you are found guilty of possession with intent to supply, it can lead to a life sentence.
Ahead of the surrender, Superintendent Mel Crowther said: “Compared with other areas of the country we don’t have a significant gun problem, but we are keen to support this national campaign to help keep our communities safe. The whole aim is to remove any firearms that could potentially be used in a crime from public circulation.
“Our policing area has a number of licensed firearms owners, and this is also an opportunity for them to hand in old weapons or guns they no longer require. The majority of the firearms handed in during the last surrender were older items the owner no longer needed and wanted to safely dispose of. People may have older or historical weapons stored in lofts or garages, which have been inherited or passed down through the family, and these can also be disposed of during the surrender. While these are not being used for criminal activities, they can, and sometimes do, fall into the wrong hands and can then be used to commit crimes.
“By participating in the surrender, people can be confident that items have been safely disposed of. Every firearm surrendered is one less weapon that can be used to commit crime.”
West Mercia Police and Crime Commissioner John Campion said: “We are fortunate that the overwhelming majority of firearms within West Mercia are both owned and used legally and responsibly within our rural communities. However, any way we can safely remove illegal or unwanted firearms from our communities is very welcome. The number of weapons handed in nationwide demonstrates the value in these sorts of amnesties and I fully support West Mercia Police taking part again this year.”
Guns and ammunition, including replica firearms, BB guns and antique weapons, can be surrendered at Shrewsbury or Malinsgate police stations.