Gun surrender launched across Lancashire.7 November, 2014
Lancashire’s Police and Crime Commissioner has joined forces with the Constabulary to launch a week-long opportunity for people to surrender unwanted firearms and ammunition.
It’s been nine years since the force last asked residents to surrender unlawfully held or unwanted guns and ammunition to prevent them getting into the wrong hands, and Clive Grunshaw is hoping this latest operation will help keep the county’s streets safe.
The surrender, in response to a law change in July, is codenamed Operation Holster and will allow owners of antique or unwanted firearms to hand them over without fear of prosecution at designated police stations between Monday, November 10 and Sunday, November 16.
Many firearms may be held in innocence and ignorance of their illegality or may be overlooked or forgotten in people’s homes. This gives holders the chance to dispose of the firearm and ammunition safely by handing it in at a police station.The Commissioner said: “The penalties for illegal possession of a firearm are severe – and the consequences could be even greater if they subsequently fall into the wrong hands.
“We are fortunate that gun crime in Lancashire remains low, however in order to keep it that way we need to ensure we are not complacent. That means encouraging anyone who has a weapon which they are keeping illegally to take this opportunity to hand it in, without fear of reprisals, and ensure it is disposed of safely so it can’t be used in crime in the future.”
Superintendent Jon Puttock said: “Police officers are called to attend reports of people seen in public places with firearms on a regular basis.
“Despite the fact that firearms and imitation firearms are often handed into Lancashire Police there are still unlawfully held firearms in the county; be it trophy or antique weapons such as from military conflict, or firearms which people have acquired from a relative.
“People may have firearms that belong to other people, who have inherited them, or may have been overlooked or forgotten. We would encourage people to check their attics, sheds and cupboards and hand weapons in.
“Gun crime in the UK has continued to fall year on year for the last ten years. In Lancashire, we are fortunate that we do not have the same level of gun crime problems experienced by other areas but we are not complacent about gun crime which is why we are giving this opportunity for people to dispose of unwanted guns safely.
Throughout the week, those surrendering firearms will not face prosecution for illegal possession and, if they wish, can remain anonymous. However, the history of each live weapon will be checked for evidence of its use in crimes.
Surrendering unwanted or unlicensed weapons avoids the risk of them becoming involved in criminality and means that people can dispose of firearms and ammunition safely.
New firearms legislation came into effect on 14 July increasing the maximum jail term for illegal gun possession with aggravating features from 10 years to life and now includes anyone who is storing a weapon for someone else. It also includes antique firearms amid fears obsolete weapons can be made viable by criminals with ballistics know-how.
A similar Greater Manchester Police scheme in July saw a total of 225 weapons and more than 3,500 rounds of ammunition handed in over a two week period.
Last month Lancashire officers commenced a series of unannounced visits to firearms owners to ensure their guns are kept securely and do not end up in the hands of criminals.
NABIS work with police forces across the UK to provide a forensic service to analyse guns and ballistic material. Head of NABIS, Detective Chief Superintendent Iain O’Brien, said: “These opportunities allow people to hand firearms over to police and prevent them falling into the hands of criminals and endangering the public. We are pleased that Lancashire Police is running this operation and we hope as many people as possible take this opportunity to surrender their guns.”
Weapons and ammunition can be surrendered at any police station but anyone handing in a firearm during this opportunity is advised to check the opening times of their nearest station before they set off. Details can be found on the force website www.lancashire.police.uk
To receive advice on how best to transport the weapon responsibly from home to the Police station phone 101 before travelling.
Anyone wishing to hand-in firearms should disarm them and put them in a box or strong bag and putting ammunition in a separate box/bag.
Supt Puttock added: “Together with our partners we continually work hard to educate young people about firearms and the dangers that come with them, to ensure that gun crime doesn’t become prevalent in the future.
“Communities hold the key to helping reduce firearms related crime and we are looking for public support to get guns off the street. If you know of people involved in illegal firearms activity call the Police on 101 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.
“Every call to Crimestoppers is anonymous and potentially vital to preventing or solving serious crimes; removing an illegally held firearm may just save someone’s life.”
The surrender is set to take place force wide between 08:00 on Monday the 10th November 2014 to 22:00 on Sunday the 16th November 2014. Follow the surrender on Twitter using the hashtag #OpHolster.
Supt Puttock will be hosting a live Facebook chat at 2pm on Monday 10 November 2014 to answer your questions about our gun surrender campaign. Join us https://www.facebook.com/lancspolice
The designated police stations are:
|Preston||Lancaster Road North Preston PR1 2SA. Open 8am – 10pm Monday to Sunday|
|Leyland||Lancastergate Leyland PR25 2EX. Open 9am – 8 pm Monday to Sunday|
|Chorley||St Thomas’s Road Chorley PR7 1DR. Open 9am – 8pm Monday to Sunday|
|Ormskirk||1 Derby Street Ormskirk L39 2BJ. Open 10am – 6pm Tuesday to Saturday (closed 2pm – 3pm)|
|Skelmersdale||Southway Skelmersdale WN8 6NH. Open 9am – 8pm Monday to Sunday|
|Lancaster||Thurnham Street Lancaster LA1 1YB. Open 8am – 10pm Monday to Sunday|
|Fleetwood||North Church Street Fleetwood FY7 6HJ. Open 9am – 8pm Monday to Sunday|
|Morecambe||21 Poulton Square Morecambe LA4 5PZ. Open 9am – 8pm Monday to Sunday|
|Poulton||Market Place Poulton le Fylde FY6 7AS. Open 10am – 6pm Tuesday to Saturday (closed 2pm – 3pm)|
|Blackpool||Bonny Street Blackpool FY1 5RL. Open 8am – 10pm Monday to Sunday|
|Bispham||Red Bank Road Blackpool FY2 0HJ. Open 10am – 6pm Tuesday to Saturday (closed 2pm – 3pm)|
|Kirkham||Freckleton Street Kirkham Preston PR4 2SN. Open 10am – 6pm Tuesday to Saturday (closed 2pm – 3pm)|
|St Annes||St Andrews Road North Lytham St Anne’s FY8 2JF. Open 10am – 6pm Tuesday to Saturday (closed 2pm – 3pm)|
|Blackburn Greenbank||Greenbank Business Park off Whitebirk Drive Blackburn BB1 3HT. Open 8am to 10pm Monday – Sunday|
|Accrington||Spring Gardens Accrington BB5 2BJ. Open 9am to 8pm Monday – Sunday|
|Blackburn Town Centre||Railway Road Blackburn BB1 1EX. Open 9am to 8pm Monday – Sunday|
|Clitheroe||King Street Clitheroe BB7 2EU. Open 9am – 8pm Monday – Sunday|
|Darwen||Union Street Darwen BB3 0DA. Open 10am – 6pm Tuesday to Saturday (closed 2pm – 3pm)|
|Great Harwood||Hesketh Street Great Harwood BB6 7DW. Open 10am – 6pm Tuesday to Saturday (closed 2pm – 3pm)|
|Burnley||Parker Lane Burnley BB11 2BT. Open 8am – 10pm Monday to Sunday|
|Colne||Craddock Road Colne BB8 0JZ. Open 10am – 6pm Tuesday to Saturday (closed 2pm – 3pm)|
|Waterfoot (Rossendale)||Bacup Road Waterfoot BB4 7JA. Open 9am – 8pm Monday to Sunday|
|Barnoldswick||Rainhall Road Barnoldswick BB18 6AB. Open 10am – 6pm Tuesday to Saturday (closed 2pm – 3pm)|
|Nelson||Broadway Nelson BB9 9SJ. Open 9am – 8pm Monday to Sunday|