Dorset Police calls on the public to surrender illegal firearms
Dorset Police and Devon & Cornwall Police are asking the public to surrender illegally held or unwanted firearms and ammunition. The surrender period runs from 13 November until 26 November 2017.
During the surrender period, those handing in firearms or ammunition will not be arrested for illegal possession at the point of surrender and they can remain anonymous.
The history of each live weapon will be checked for evidence of prior use associated with crime.
Michelle Mounsey, Firearms and Explosives Licensing Manager for the Devon & Cornwall Police and Dorset Police Alliance, said: “We want to take out of circulation any type of firearm and ammunition, which includes guns which can still be fired, antique or unwanted collectible weapons, replica weapons, air weapons, BB guns, stun guns and ammunition that are no longer required.”
“This is an opportunity to surrender firearms and not be charged with illegal possession. Remember that outside of the surrender period if police find you in possession of a firearm without a current certificate then you may be subject of court proceedings which may lead to a custodial sentence.”
Many firearms may be overlooked or forgotten in people’s homes. These include trophies of war which have been inherited from a relative or even stored in the loft with the presumption that they are out of harm’s way, or guns thought to be harmless antiques. All can be handed in.
Michelle added: “Some people may possess guns that they do not realise are held illegally. This particularly applies to anyone who is serving or who has served a custodial sentence. Essentially, if anyone has received a suspended/custodial or youth detention sentence of more than three months but less than three years, they cannot possess a firearm or ammunition for five years after release. If the sentence was of three years or more, they are classified as a prohibited person under the Firearms Act and can never possess any type of firearm or ammunition. This applies to antique items as well.
“The message is clear - if you have even a shadow of doubt about the legality of a weapon or ammunition you possess we urge you to hand it in during the surrender. We encourage the public to surrender as many guns and rounds of ammunition as possible to make our communities safer.”
Dorset Police and Crime Commissioner, Martyn Underhill, said: “I fully support this initiative and would encourage anyone in possession of ammunition, parts or firearms that are worrying them to make the most of this opportunity.
“Many of these weapons may have been previously overlooked, perhaps as antiques or out of date equipment, but they still have the potential to cause harm in our communities. Ensuring that items which may be illegal, unsafe or insecure are handed to police will help to keep Dorset a safe place to live and visit.”
Anyone handing in firearms or ammunition during the surrender period is advised to check the opening times of their nearest participating police enquiry office. Members of the public concerned about transporting items to participating police stations can also seek advice on how to do so by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
Full information about the firearms and ammunition surrender can be found online: www.dorset.police.uk/firearms-surrender Firearms and ammunition must not be left outside any police building if it is closed, nor handed in before or after the surrender period.
If you know of people involved in illegal firearms activity contact the police as above or call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111. This could provide potentially vital information for preventing or solving serious crimes. Removing an illegally held firearm may save someone’s life.
You can watch the National Ballistics Intelligence Service (NABIS) video on firearms and ammunition surrender here.
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