25th Sep, 2018

New gun surrender scheme launched to get firearms off streets

ANYONE holding a firearm in the West Midlands region is being asked to hand it in to police as part of the force’s first gun surrender scheme in three years.

Police stations where guns can be surrendered on amnesty arrangements without repercussions include Coventry central station and Solihull.

The scheme starts today and runs until October 1.

It is a pilot scheme ahead of a national gun amnesty next month.

West Midlands Police says its means people can hand in any firearm – including handguns, shotguns, rifles, BB guns, imitations, ammunition or antiques – without fear of being prosecuted for gun possession.

Weapons can also be surrendered by calling the force on 101 and arranging for officers to make home visits.

It is hoped the move will also prevent unused shotguns or antique firearms – such as World War relics – from potentially falling into criminals’ hands.

Detective Chief Inspector Rich Agar also urged anyone with information on the whereabouts of firearms to support the surrender.

He added: “The laws on illegal firearms have recently been toughened up and anyone found in possession of a gun can now be jailed for five years.

“Past experience tells us there will be people in the West Midlands who, out of misguided loyalty, are storing guns for partners, relatives or friends.

“They are risking time behind bars, even if they have no intention of using the gun themselves; they need to contact us during the window of this surrender before it’s too late.

“We can make arrangements to discreetly collect firearms so I’d urge people to get in touch.

“Every gun taken off the streets is potentially a life saved.”

The last West Midlands Police firearms surrender in July 2014 saw the seizure of 131 firearms and more than 1,000 rounds of ammunition.

The force added: “The haul included viable handguns like .38mm revolvers, self-loading pistols and a .44 Ruger Redhawk magnum, plus historic service weapons like Webley and Enfield revolvers, a 1915 German Luger, a Smith & Wesson and a Japanese type 26 revolver.

“There were 17 fatal shootings in the West Midlands in the five years between 2004 and 2009 but that fell to nine between 2009 and 2014. Since 2015 there has been seven.”

“In 2015, a woman persuaded a friend to hide her gangster boyfriend’s pistol at her home in Handsworth – both women were later jailed for five years.”

DCI Agar added: “Saying ‘it’s not my gun’ is no defence; if you hold onto a firearm for someone else you can expect to spend many years behind bars away from friends, family… your own children.

“If people feel they are being pressurised into storing weapons then we can help them – we can offer support to get away from that situation. Call us on 101 or call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.”

Stations where firearms can be surrendered:

• Lloyd House (24hrs)

• Bournville

• Solihull

• Brierley Hill

• West Bromwich

• Wolverhampton

• Stechford

• Coventry Central

• Bloxwich

• Sutton Coldfield

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