Police ‘amazed’ at success of first day of gun surrender in Suffolk
PUBLISHED: 19:05 13 November 2017
Shotguns, self-loading pistols and a Second World War military rifle were among the weapons handed in to Suffolk police on the first day of a firearms surrender.
Richard Kennett, firearms licensing manager for Norfolk and Suffolk Constabularies, said the campaign had got off to a good start, with 14 guns already collected before lunchtime on Monday at police sites in Ipswich and Martlesham.
“We have been quite amazed that within a few hours of this kicking off that we have had quite so much coming in so I think it does show that people are wanting us to provide this opportunity,” Mr Kennett said.
Between November 13-26, members of the public can give up unlicensed weapons without fear of prosecution. The appeal also includes replica firearms, air guns, component parts and other ballistic items lawfully held.
Last year, 13-year-old Ben Wragge died after he was accidently shot in the neck with an airgun while it was being passed between friends at an address in Thurston. One of the aims of the surrender is to prevent more tragedies like this, Mr Kennett said.
He added: “Imitation and air pistols will cause horrendous trauma to people who suffer robberies and also they can result in a police incident where armed police are deployed and God forbid people are shot by a police officer because they think someone has a real firearm.”
Suffolk Constabulary is also focusing on gathering trophy war weapons.
Mr Kennett said officers were “not naive” to think people using guns to commit crimes would be lining up to surrender their weapons.
“We don’t expect that to happen but what we do want to happen is people who surrender these things are removing them from the possibility of ending up in the hands of a criminal,” he said.
Although people will not be face police action for illegally possessing a firearm, any weapons found to have been used in a crime will spark an investigation, Mr Kennett said.
Suffolk Constabulary’s gun surrender is part of a national initiative taking place over the next two weeks.
Firearms can be taken into police stations across the county and people are encouraged to call 101 to let officers know that they are bringing a gun in as part of the operation.