Derbyshire police have launched a firearms surrender aimed at cutting the number of guns in circulation across the county.
The operation is the first in 11 years to give people across the whole county the opportunity to hand over any firearms or ammunition they have, to help stop them getting into the wrong hands.
These include air weapons, replica or imitation weapons such as BB guns, antique firearms or legally-held guns that license holders no longer want or need.
People who have guns that they want to hand over to Derbyshire police can do so at a number of enquiry offices across the county from today until Friday, 7th November from 7am to midnight.
During the surrender, people handing in guns can remain anonymous.
The history of each live weapon will be checked for evidence of its use in crime and if they have not been used in criminality, they will be melted down or recycled.
Derbyshire’s Assistant Chief Constable Gary Knighton said: “Gun crime is continuing to fall across Derbyshire year on year, which is a result of the excellent work we do with our partners to educate people about the dangers of carrying firearms.
“This surrender is part of that continuing work, giving people the chance to hand over guns that they do not want, no longer need, or should not have in the first place.
“Although the number of crimes in our county where a gun has been used is low, we simply cannot be complacent.
“We will do everything we can to get firearms off the streets and out of circulation and this surrender gives people a great opportunity to help us do just that.”
The 12-day surrender is part of a nationwide focus aimed at reducing the number of guns in public circulation, and follows a recent change in the law that prohibits persons with suspended sentences possessing firearms and ammunition and relates to changes concerning the possession of antique firearms.
In July, changes were made to the Firearms Act 1968 that placed greater restrictions on who can legally possess firearms or ammunition.
These changes include persons who have received custodial sentences of between three months and three years, regardless of the offence, who are now prohibited from possessing any kind of firearm or ammunition for five years. Offenders who are sentenced to three years or more are prohibited for life.
Now, the same rule applies to anyone with a suspended sentence of three months or more.
There have also been changes to the law surrounding firearms that are classed as antiques, which can be possessed without a certificate if they are classed as a ‘curiosity or ornament’.
The changes also include anyone with a suspended or custodial sentence of between three months and three years who is now prohibited from possessing ‘antique’ firearms for five years. Anyone with a sentence of three years or more is prohibited from having antique firearms for life.
ACC Knighton added: “It is important for people to be aware of these changes in the law and how they may be affected by them.
“In Derbyshire, we also have a huge rural community and many people legally hold shotguns or other firearms.
“If they have an old gun that they no longer need, or an antique that they have in their house, they have the opportunity to hand it over as part of this surrender.”
Police also want anyone who has replica or imitation guns, such as ball-bearing or ‘BB’ guns, to hand them in.
Derbyshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner, Alan Charles, said: “In the wrong hands guns can kill or maim people.
“They can be used to commit terrifying crimes which traumatise victims for years. I urge people with old, disused or unwanted firearms to take this opportunity to dispose of them responsibly.
“Thankfully, gun crime is low in Derbyshire and every firearm handed in will help to keep it that way. You might even save a life.”
People can hand in firearms at the following police enquiry offices:
Derby and South Derbyshire:
St Mary’s Wharf, Prime Parkway, Derby
City Centre office, Market Place, Derby
Cotton Lane Police Station, Cotton Lane, Derby
Ilkeston Police Station, Heanor Road, Ilkeston
Long Eaton Police Station, Midland Street, Long Eaton
Pear Tree Police Station, Pear Tree Road, Derby
Swadlincote Police Station, Civic Way, Swadlincote
Chesterfield, Amber Valley, Bolsover and Clay Cross
Chesterfield Police Station, New Beetwell Street, Chesterfield
Ripley Police Station, Wyatt’s Way, Ripley
Clay Cross Police Station, Pilsley Road, Danesmoor
Bolsover Police Station, at the Bolsover District Council offices, Sherwood Lodge, Bolsover
Derbyshire Dales and High Peak
Buxton Police Station, Silverlands, Buxton
Bakewell Police Station, Granby Road, Bakewell
Ashbourne Police Station, Compton Road, Ashbourne
Glossop Police Station, Ellison Street, Glossop
Matlock Police Station, Bank Road, Matlock.
Anyone wanting toto hand in a firearm during the surrender should call 101 to find out the opening times of their nearest station.
For more information on the surrender and the law surrounding guns, visit www.derbyshire.police.uk.