Issued on 13/11/17 at 11:56 a.m.
Leicestershire Police is taking part in a two week national surrender of firearms and ammunition from Monday 13 November 2017.
It has been three years since the last national firearms surrender and five years since Leicestershire held its own surrender when 148 weapons were handed in. Forces across the country are appealing to people to hand over any unlawfully held or unwanted guns and ammunition to prevent them from getting into criminal hands.
The surrender initiative is being co-ordinated by the National Ballistics Intelligence Service (NABIS).
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 threaten or harm local communities. The surrender gives members of the public the chance to dispose of a firearm or ammunition by simply taking it to a local designated police station and handing it in.
The surrender is not an amnesty. It does not mean that the police will not investigate any offences prior to its surrender and the public should be reassured that officers will continue to vigorously investigate offences linked to any firearm they receive.
National Police Chiefs’ Council Lead for Criminal Use of Firearms, Assistant Chief Constable Helen McMillan, said: “I am urging anyone with an unwanted firearm to hand it over to police. You don’t have to give your name or address; we just want more guns out of harm’s way. “Each firearm we retrieve has the potential to save a life so do the right thing and surrender your weapon.”
The surrender initiative is being co-ordinated by the National Ballistics Intelligence Service (NABIS). The surrender will run for two weeks from Monday 13 November to Sunday 26 November 2017.
Detective Chief Superintendent Jo Chilton, Head of NABIS, added: “Surrendering unwanted or illegal firearms avoids the risk of them becoming involved in crime and means that members of the community can dispose of them in a safe place.
“Perhaps you have a gun that has been handed down through the family or you have found a firearm in your loft or shed which has been gathering dust and you had forgotten about. During the campaign this November you can hand in any unwanted or illegal firearms. This way you can be confident you have got rid of a firearm safely.”
During that period, those handing over firearms will not face prosecution for the illegal possessions, at the point of surrender, and can remain anonymous.
Guns and ammunition can be surrendered at the following designated police stations across Leicestershire;
- Mansfield House 8am – 10pm (10am - 8pm Saturday, 10am - 4pm Sunday)
- Market Harborough 10am – 4pm (Monday to Friday)
- Braunstone 10am – 4pm (Monday to Friday)
- Hinckley 9am – 6.00pm (9 – 3pm Saturday, Sunday closed)
- Wigston 9am – 6.00pm (10 – 4pm Saturday, Sunday closed)
- Keyham Lane 8am – 8pm (8am – 6pm Saturday, Sunday closed)
- Spinney Hill 10pm – 6pm (Monday to Friday)
- Beaumont Leys 8am – 8pm (9am to 5pm Saturday 10am to 4pm Sunday)
- Melton Mowbray 9am – 7pm (9am to 5pm Saturday 10am to 4pm Sunday)
- Hinckley Road 10am – 4pm (Monday to Friday)
Latest crime figures issued on 19 October 2017 by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) show that crime involving firearms in England & Wales has increased by 27% (to 6,696). This is for year ending June 2017 compared with the previous year (5,269 offences).
Assistant Chief Constable Rob Nixon, who’s leading the surrender in Leicestershire, said; “In Leicestershire we take a robust approach to dealing with gun crime and proactively take steps to reduce the number of guns on our streets working with specialist officers. We are happy to support this national surrender because every weapon off the streets is one less that can be used to harm or threaten our communities.
“This year we have had several significant court cases which have led to long jail sentences for a number of people and the recovery of weapons including in one instance a machine pistol capable of firing 800 rounds a minute; three handguns and nearly 65 rounds of ammunition.
“We use various tactics to locate weapons which have fallen into the wrong hands – but we need your help. If you know where a weapon is being kept illegally, now is your chance to give it up, or tell us anonymously where it is. You could save a life.”
Illegal possession of a firearm can mean five years behind bars and if you are found guilty of possession with intent to supply that can lead to a life sentence.
If you know of anyone involved with illegal firearms call police on 101 or Crimestoppers (anonymously) on 0800 555 111. If you are a licensed firearm holder who wants advice please contact your local force. For more information about NABIS visit www.nabis.police.uk or follow us on Twitter @NABIS_UK or @leicspolice