Police urge gun owners to hand over weapons in first firearm amnesty in more than a decade
Two week window to hand over guns no questions asked
Merseyside Police are giving gun owners the opportunity to hand their firearms
Gun owners are now being given the opportunity to hand their firearms over to police - no questions asked.
The first firearm amnesty on Merseyside in more than a decade has been launched today in a bid to get the deadly weapons off the streets.
Anyone who hands over a gun will not face prosecution for possession of the firearm - though detectives will investigate its history and use.
The amnesty is Merseyside Police’s latest move in the force’s fight against gun crime. The last time one was held on Merseyside, back in 2003, nearly 500 guns and more than 70 other weapons, along with more than 10,000 rounds of ammunition were handed in to police.
Over the next fortnight anyone who is in possession of a firearm can hand it in to one of several police stations without the fear of prosecution.
The scheme means those hiding firearms can get rid of the lethal weapons without facing the minimum five year jail term handed out for being found with an illegally-owned gun.
Merseyside Police's las amnesty in 2003
Guns handed in
Other weapons handed in
Total amount of ammunition rounds surrendered
Urging people to take advantage of the amnesty, Detective Superintendent Mike Shaw, from the police’s specialist Matrix gun and gang crime squad, said: “Merseyside Police is relentless in its approach to tackling gun crime and last year we proactively took nearly 200 guns off our streets thanks to information we received from our communities.
“The firearms surrender will run in tandem with our on-going proactive approach to taking firearms off the streets. There have been some changes in legislation in the last 12 months in relation to antique firearms and some people may also have replica and decommissioned firearms in their homes because they have inherited them, or have a genuine interest in collecting military weapons and paraphernalia.
“These weapons could be targeted by those involved in serious and organised crime who may see the opportunities of converting and using them in criminality.
“So if you do own any weapons like this, think long and hard about the potential consequences. In the wrong hands, these guns can be reactivated and used to cause fear and intimidation, or even worse could be used to seriously injure, or kill, someone. Every gun surrendered is one less that can be used by criminals to commit serious offences.”
The amnesty has partly been introduced as a response to changes in gun laws which mean anyone previously convicted of possessing firearms, or ammunition, who has served a sentence of between three months and three years is prohibited from possessing antique firearms for five years. Those sentenced to more than three years are permanently prohibited.
Anyone found illegally possessing guns and ammunition for sale or transfer faces the possibility of spending the rest of their life behind bars.
Merseyside’s Police Commissioner Jane Kennedy backed the amnesty and said: “Gun surrenders provide an important opportunity for people to hand firearms over to police and prevent them falling into the hands of criminals and endangering the public.
“Every gun given up is one less that poses a threat to the safety of our communities. This is a real opportunity for members of the public to relinquish any weapons that may be outside the law. I would urge people to take it up.”