Dorset Police supports national firearms surrender

Police urge the public to hand in unwanted guns and ammunition in support of national campaign

Dorset Police is appealing for people to hand in unwanted guns and ammunition during a two week national surrender period from 20 July to 4 August 2019.

The public are advised to check the opening times of participating police stations before making the journey to surrender any items.

Many firearms are held in innocence and ignorance of their illegality or are overlooked and forgotten in people’s homes. Examples of this are shotguns or rifles for which the licence has expired or perhaps handguns brought back into the country from the First and Second World War, or other items acquired as collectibles.

The surrender, organised by the National Ballistics Intelligence Service (NaBIS), gives people the chance to dispose of firearms or ammunition by simply taking them to a participating local police station and handing them over anonymously at the point of surrender. All firearms will be examined for evidence of criminality.

Surrendering unwanted, unlicensed weapons avoids the risk of them becoming involved in criminality and means that members of the community can dispose of firearms in a safe place.

It is important to remember that in past surrenders the majority of items surrendered were not in circulation for criminal use, and this surrender period removes the possibility that they could be acquired and distributed by criminal networks to harm, threaten and intimidate local communities.

During that period, those surrendering firearms will not face prosecution for the illegal possession upon surrender and can remain anonymous.

Michelle Mounsey, Firearms and Explosives Licensing Manager for the Dorset Police and Devon & Cornwall Police Alliance said: “We want as many weapons as possible and would encourage people to hand them in.

“If you know where a weapon is being kept illegally, now is your chance to give up the gun, or tell us anonymously where it is. You will not be prosecuted and you could save a life.

“One weapon removed from potential circulation is one less that can be used to harm or threaten our communities.”

Weapons and ammunition can be surrendered at any participating police station but anyone handing in a firearm, ammunition or any other weapon during the surrender is advised to check the opening times of their station. Weapons or ammunition should definitely not be left outside a police station if it is closed.

Police would also be keen for people to hand in any replica guns, airsoft guns, BB guns and anything that looks like the real thing and about which they are having second thoughts, as these can be used to threaten and intimidate too.

The public should also be aware that electrical stun weapons – the police use a version of these called a Taser – can be acquired in other countries or online but are illegal in the UK. They would like you to hand those in as well.

Any member of the public surrendering a firearm will be doing so in the knowledge that it will be completely destroyed first by being cut into unusable pieces, with metal pieces eventually being recycled. A handful of unusual items may be retained by police force armourers under secure conditions for future training and reference purposes. Nothing will be sold on and nor will the original holders be given any payment.

Dorset Police and Crime Commissioner Martyn Underhill said: “Dorset does not have a serious problem with gun crime and remains one of the safest places in the country.

“However, we’re asking anyone who may have an shotgun in their house that hasn’t been used for years – or who has misguidedly bought a replica hand gun or electric stun weapon online – to bring them in so they can be safely destroyed, rather than run the risk of them ending up in the wrong hands.”

At the end of the last firearms surrender in November 2017, 214 firearms of various types had been handed in to Dorset Police.

If you know of people in possession of or involved in illegal firearms email Dorset Police at [email protected] or call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

In Dorset the following police stations will receive surrendered firearms and ammunition.

Bournemouth: Monday -Friday 9am – 5pm / Saturday and Sunday 9am – 4.30pm.
Weymouth: Monday – Friday 9am -4pm / Saturday 9am – 4pm. Closed Sunday.
Poole: Monday – Friday 9am – 3.30pm Closed Saturday & Sunday.

If anyone is at all uncertain about transporting firearms or ammunition, they should email the force for advice.