Huge campaign launched to get guns and 'trophies of war' off Calderdale streets

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Yorkshire and the Humber Regional Policing is supporting this year’s national firearms surrender to rid the streets in Calderdale of guns.

The initiative is due to take place across the country between 13 and 26 November, with members of the public encouraged to take firearms into police stations.

Across Yorkshire and Humberside, police will also accept other weapons including knives, ammunition and other offensive weapons.

The initiative aims to avoid weapons getting into the wrong hands and being used in crime, and provide members of the community with a safe place to dispose of them.

The surrender gives members of the public the chance to dispose of them by simply taking them to a local designated police station and handing it in.

Yorkshire and the Humber Policing is also keen to hear from anyone who may have information about the illegal possession of firearms including ammunition and is seeking help to identify so-called ‘safe’ houses where they may be held.

West Yorkshire Police Assistant Chief Constable Catherine Hankinson said: “We want to remove weapons so they don’t end up in the wrong hands on the streets. Weapons don’t recognise county boundaries, so having a national surrender enables people across the region, and across the country, to surrender weapons safely and anonymously, no matter where they live.

"Incidents involving the reported use of weapons are treated very seriously. West Yorkshire Police work closely with partners to ensure people who live, work and visit the county remain safe.

"Communities hold the key to helping reduce firearms related crime. Information from witnesses and local communities is vital if we are to obtain evidence needed to arrest and prosecute offenders and we would ask people to contact Crimestoppers anonymously.

“We want as many weapons as possible and would encourage people to hand them in.”

During the campaign those surrendering firearms, ammunition, knives and other offensive weapons will not face prosecution for simply possessing these weapons and they can remain anonymous.

This is the latest in a series of successful similar initiatives held by West Yorkshire Police in recent years with hundreds of guns and other weapons being handed in.

Mark Burns-Williamson, West Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner, said: “The fight against gun crime is stronger than ever and working with partners and our local communities we can safeguard, educate and intervene at the earliest opportunity to ensure our communities feel safer.

“One weapon off the streets is one less that can be used to harm or threaten our communities.

"It’s very important to run weapons surrenders periodically to support changes in the law and to give people an opportunity to hand in illegal or dangerous weapons and ammunition anonymously or otherwise which eliminates the chance of them ever falling in to the wrong hands and preventing serious harm in the future.

“By taking part in this weapons surrender you could literally be saving lives. I would urge anyone with illegal/dangerous weapons or ammunition to please come forward and dispose of them safely and with any other relevant information to contact the police in helping to make West Yorkshire safer."

The initiative is being co-ordinated by the National Ballistics Intelligence Service (NABIS).

Detective Chief Superintendent Jo Chilton, Head of NABIS, added: “Surrendering unwanted or illegal firearms avoids the risk of them becoming involved in crime and means that members of the community can dispose of them in a safe place.

“Perhaps you have a gun that has been handed down through the family or you have found a firearm in your loft or shed which has been gathering dust and you had forgotten about. During the campaign you can contact your local force and hand in any unwanted or illegal firearms. This way you can be confident you have got rid of a firearm safely.”

NABIS and police forces across the UK are working with partners such as the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) and the Local Government Association (LGA), to ensure the surrender fortnight of action is a success.

Councillor Simon Blackburn, Chair of the Safer and Stronger Communities Board at the Local Government Association, said: “Councils know their areas best and play a vital role in reducing crime, working alongside their community safety partnership partners to make their towns and cities safer and protect residents from harm.

If you know of anyone involved with illegal firearms call police on 101 or independent charity Crimestoppers (anonymously) on 0800 555 111. If you are a licensed firearm holder who wants advice please contact your local force. For more information about NABIS visit www.nabis.police.uk or follow us on Twitter @NABIS_UK