This week’s launch coincides with a programme of unannounced home visits to firearm or shotgun certificate holders across the county to ensure that weapons are being held safely.
A previous campaign held in 2003 in the north of Hampshire resulted in 119 firearms and 1124 rounds of live ammunition being surrendered in 16 days. This year’s campaign runs until 21st November.
Chief Superintendent Dave Hardcastle who is leading the campaign said:
“The purpose is to reduce the overall harm of gun crime on communities. Fortunately in Hampshire and the Isle of Wight, gun crime is rare and we’d like to keep it that way.
“I’d encourage people who illegally hold weapons and ammunition to surrender them to us. This in turn will reduce the risk of these weapons ending up in the wrong hands.”
“If you have old firearms or ammunition in your loft or shed that you don’t want, then this is the time to surrender them.
“We want to get as many firearms out of circulation and off the streets as possible. One gun in the wrong hands can have catastrophic consequences.“
Police are also using the surrender campaign to remind the public about recent changes in firearms legislation.
The laws around antique firearms were tightened; which means that someone who has served or received a criminal sentence can no longer possess an antique gun. The sentencing guidelines for possession for sale or transfer of an unauthorised firearm or ammunition were also raised. The offence now carries a maximum penalty of life.
Anyone who has a conviction and who possesses a firearm should see the surrender campaign as an opportunity to give up their weapon or ammunition.
To surrender a weapon or ammunition, the public can send an email for an appointment to [email protected]. Alternatively for those without access to email, call police on 101.
If a member of the public has concerns about security of a firearm by someone they know, they are also encouraged to call police on 101.