A firearms and ammunition surrender is to be launched by Thames Valley Police across its entire force area to reduce the number of illegally held weapons in circulation.
The period of surrender starts at 8.00am on Monday 24th November 2014 until 10.00pm on Sunday 7th December 2014 inclusive.
During the surrender period unlicensed guns, bullets and old or antique firearms can be handed in to police without facing prosecution for illegal possession of the weapons.
The maximum jail term for possessing an illegal gun recently (July 2014) increased from ten years to life.
Leading the campaign, Ch Insp Lindsay James said: ‘The aim of the two week firearms surrender is to stop guns getting into the wrong hands. Every gun given up is one less that criminals can use. Licence holders can be reassured that these measures merely enhance their rights and privileges to own firearms, by removing illegal ones. Licence holders are also encouraged to use this amnesty to consider the surrender of weapons they no longer have a use for. It can also be used to get rid of firearms left by a family member who has died. Although year on year crime figures show that firearm crime has reduced in Thames Valley in the last three years, authorities believe that the change in legislation which came into effect on 14 July 2014 means a number of firearms will be held by people in innocence and ignorance of their illegality. It is important to emphasise that guns suspected to have previously been used in crimes, will be investigated.‘
Weapons handed in to front counters will be forensically examined and information sent to National Ballistics Intelligence Service (NABIS) where appropriate.
Recent changes in firearms legislation (July 2014) mean the laws around antique firearms have been tightened. Anyone 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 have also been raised. This offence now carries a maximum penalty of life.
Unlicensed guns, bullets and firearms should be surrendered by handing them into the front counter of any of the following participating stations (please note opening times) :
- Milton Keynes Police Station (open 24/7)
- St Aldates Police Station (open 24/7)
- Reading Police Station (open 24/7)
- Aylesbury Police Station (8.00am – 10.00pm)
- High Wycombe Police Station (8.00am – 10.00pm)
- Loddon Valley Police Station (8.00am – 10.00pm)
- Abingdon Police Station (8.00am – 10.00pm)
- Slough Police Station (8.00am – 10.00pm)
- Maidenhead Police Station (8.00am – 10.00pm)
- Banbury Police Station (8.00am – 10.00pm)
- Newbury Police Station (8.00am – 10.00pm)