Campaign urges people to surrender illegal guns
- Credit: Archant
People in Suffolk can hand in unwanted or illegal guns under a national surrender on firearms and ammunition being backed by the county's police force.
The campaign, which is being coordinated by the National Ballistics Intelligence Service (NABIS) will run from May 12 until May 29, and firearms can be surrendered at police stations in Ipswich, Bury St Edmunds and Lowestoft.
During that period, those handing in guns will not face prosecution for illegal possession at the point of surrender and can remain anonymous.
The aim of the campaign is to reduce the availability of illegal firearms to criminals, reduce the number of illegal guns within local supply chains and ultimately bring down firearm offences across the county.
The items that people in Suffolk are being urged to surrender include replica firearms, air weapons, BB guns, imitation firearms, component parts and other ballistic items currently lawfully held.
Suffolk police said many firearms are held in innocence and ignorance of their illegality or are overlooked and forgotten in peoples’ homes, while some are held legally and are no longer required.
Others are acquired and distributed by criminal networks to harm, threaten and intimidate their local communities.
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The force said the surrender gives people the chance to dispose of firearms or ammunition by simply taking them to a local police station and handing them over.
Darrell Skuse, firearms licensing manager for Norfolk and Suffolk Constabularies, said: "Although we are fortunate that crimes involving firearms are not common in Suffolk, the reality is that they do happen occasionally and we want to take this opportunity to further reduce the risk.
“The aim of this campaign is for people to hand in as many firearms as possible, as every weapon that is removed from the public sphere is one more that is prevented from potentially falling into the pool of criminally used weapons.
“The surrender will allow people to hand in unwanted or illegal firearms and ammunition to the police. It will avoid these weapons getting into the wrong hands and provide members of the community with a safe place to dispose of any firearms and ammunition they have, whether held lawfully or unlawfully.”
Tim Passmore, Suffolk’s police and crime commissioner, said: “Anything we can do to reduce the risk of crime involving firearms has my full support.
“We are very lucky here in Suffolk as we live in a safe county and crimes involving firearms are thankfully rare. However we need to keep it that way, so if you have any unlicensed firearms or ammunition for any reason please hand them in – that way they will never fall into the wrong hands.”
Firearms can be surrendered at the stations below between 9am and 4pm, Monday to Saturday.
- Ipswich Police Station, 10 Museum Street, IP1 1HT
- Lowestoft Police Station, Old Nelson Street, NR32 1EQ
- Bury St Edmunds Police Station, Raingate Street, IP33 2AP
Suffolk police added that anyone handing in a firearm should make sure that it is unloaded and covered up and, if possible, people are asked to ring the police beforehand on 101 to let officers know that they are bringing a gun in as part of the campaign.