Bedfordshire Police is supporting a national drive to reduce the number unwanted firearms and ammunition in the county, to stop criminals getting hold of them.
During the two-week campaign, which runs between Saturday, July 20, and Sunday, August 4, members of the public are encouraged to surrender any unlicensed firearms and ammunition to the police by calling 101.
Chief Superintendent Catherine Akehurst, Firearms Surrender Campaign Lead for Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Hertfordshire police forces, said: “We are pleased to be supporting this important national campaign which is an opportunity to dispose of weapons safely and with peace of mind.
“Any firearm in the wrong hands can have a devastating impact. If you or a family member has an illegal or unwanted firearm please take this opportunity to hand it in to the police.”
Anyone handing over firearms during the campaign will not face prosecution for possession of a weapon at the point of surrender. They can also remain anonymous if preferred. However, any surrendered weapons found to be linked to criminal activity will be investigated and appropriate action taken.
Chief Superintendent David Boyle for Bedfordshire Police, said: “Last year, we were able to jail two men, for life and 20 years respectively, who were responsible for importing and modifying dozens of blank handguns and blank ammunition to make them live.
“This case shows what can happen if weapons, even if they are blank, fall into the wrong hands. Therefore it’s really important that people surrender unwanted firearms and ammunition so they can’t be used to cause harm to others.
“We are pleased to support this campaign, and I hope it encourages people to surrender unwanted firearms that they don’t know what to do with. However, to those who use firearms to threaten or cause harm to our communities,
“I’d like to send a strong message that our Boson team, dedicated to tackling gun and gang activity, will continue to pursue you and bring you to justice.”
The campaign is also an opportunity for members of the public to call 101 and find out how they can apply for certification in order to own a firearm legally.
The national firearms surrender campaign is being coordinated by the National Ballistics Intelligence Service (NABIS).
Detective Chief Superintendent Jo Clews, Head of NABIS, added: “Even though UK firearm offences remain at relatively low levels compared to other countries, we cannot be complacent and this surrender will help remove further potential harm from our communities.”
If you suspect anyone is involved with illegal firearms please call 101 or contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.