A CRACKDOWN on firearms in a bid to make local communities safer has been backed by West Merica Police.
The force, together with colleagues in Warwickshire, is supporting a national firearms surrender which will run for two weeks from today until November 26.
Local people will have the opportunity to safely dispose of a firearm by taking it to Worcester police station and handing it in.
The national clampdown is being co-ordinated by the National Ballistics Intelligence Service with all forces in England and Wales taking part.
The aim is to reduce the number of illegal or unlicensed firearms in circulation and to decrease the opportunities for firearms to be used in a criminal offence.
During the last surrender in 2014, more than 6,000 items were handed into police nationally.
These included hand guns, rifles, shotguns, antique guns and imitation firearms, as well as ammunition.
In West Mercia 323 weapons were handed into local stations, the vast majority of these not being used for criminal use.
People surrendering firearms will not be required to leave any information but if police suspect a weapon may have been involved in a crime, they will examine it for evidence.
All surrendered weapons will be destroyed or in exceptional circumstances, if the weapon has historical value, it may be donated to a museum.
Illegal possession of a firearm can mean five years behind bars and if you are found guilty of possession with intent to supply it can lead to a life sentence.
Ahead of the surrender, Chief Inspector Mark Colquhoun said: “Compared with other areas of the country we don’t have a significant gun problem, but we are keen to support this national campaign to help keep our communities safe.
“The whole aim is to remove any firearms that could potentially be used in a crime from public circulation.
“Our policing area has a large number of licensed firearms owners, and this is also an opportunity for them to hand in old weapons or guns they no longer require.
“People may have older or historical weapons stored in lofts or garages which have been inherited or passed down through the family, and these can also be disposed of during the surrender.
“While these are not being used for criminal activities, they can and sometimes do fall into the wrong hands and can then be used to commit crimes.
“By participating in the surrender, people can be confident that items have been safely disposed of. Every firearm surrendered is one less weapon that can be used to commit crime.”
During the surrender, firearms can be deposited at Worcester police station in Castle Street from 8am to 6.30pm Monday to Saturday and 10am to 4pm on Sundays.