Shotguns destroyed as part of national firearms surrender launch
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Northamptonshire Police have destroyed a host of firearms – both seized and surrendered – as part of a firearms surrender launch.
The firearms surrender, which runs from Saturday, July 20, 2019, until Sunday, August 4, 2019, sees the force asking people to hand in any firearms that may be in their possession.
During the campaign, the public are being asked to call police on 101 to arrange an appointment at their convenience and at a location of their choice, to have officers come and collect the firearm.
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 their local communities. The surrender gives the opportunity to dispose of a firearm or ammunition by simply arranging for an officer to collect it.
The National Ballistics Intelligence Service (NABIS) co-ordinated the last national firearms surrender which took place in November 2017 and was deemed a big success with thousands of potentially lethal items prevented from getting into criminal hands.
This summer’s campaign has a particular focus on firearms, stun gun type devices and pepper sprays. Police want to highlight the danger of these items and remind people they are illegal in this country and could lead to a prison sentence for anyone caught in possession.
Superintendent Sarah Johnson, head of Operations at Northamptonshire Police, said: “Firearms surrenders like this have proven successful in the past and are a very useful way of reminding people of how they can safely dispose of unwanted firearms.
“By handing in those firearms to us, people can help to avoid the possibility of them getting into the wrong hands and being used unlawfully, potentially helping to save lives.
“People may be in possession of firearms for a number of reasons, whether that be because they are service weapons, they’ve ended up with it because the original holder has passed away or because someone has given the gun to them. Whatever the reason, by calling us, we can collect and destroy it safely.”
During the campaign period, those handing over firearms will not face prosecution for illegal possession - at the point of surrender - and can remain anonymous if they choose to.
The firearms may, however be forensically examined to see if they have any links to other crimes.
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.
Figures for Northamptonshire show that gun crime has reduced by eight percent, with 170 crimes recorded between April 2018 and March 2019, compared with 185 crimes between April 2017 and March 2018.