Lincolnshire Police is providing an opportunity for county residents to give up their guns by taking part in a national campaign run by the National Ballistics Intelligence Service (NABIS).
Residents can surrender their unlicensed or unwanted firearms, ammunition, war memorabilia and imitation weapons between the 20th July and 4th August 2019.
The surrender period will serve as a reminder and an opportunity for people to relieve their homes and their consciences of unlicensed and unwanted weapons.
Detective Inspector Mark Seage said: “This is a chance for people to really think about whether they want to hold on to their weapons, and as a reminder to check that they still have the legal right to do so.
“One less firearm means one less opportunity for it to fall into the wrong hands.
“While crimes involving firearms in Lincolnshire are extremely rare, we understand that every weapon poses a potential threat if not licensed and stored safely. That’s why we’re offering people this opportunity to safely dispose of any unwanted weapons.”
The last firearms surrender in 2017 proved successful with 142 firearms handed in.
The surrender will also invite imitation and replica weapons to be handed in.
Detective Inspector Mark Seage explained: “The fear and intimidation they cause is real even if they are not. Anything that looks like a firearm will be accepted as part of the surrender week.”
During the surrender period, those surrendering firearms will not face prosecution for illegal possession of a firearm at the point of surrender of the firearm to the police, and they can remain anonymous.
However, this surrender does not mean police will not investigate firearms offences, should any come to light, once the operation has concluded.
This is a firearms surrender and not a firearms amnesty.
Under the hashtag #FirearmsSurrender Lincolnshire Police will be promoting the event across social media.
You should contact police immediately if you know that someone else has a firearm illegally or are concerned about someone in possession of any firearm, even if they have a licence.
In an emergency dial 999, and if you don’t want to give your name you can ring Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.
How to hand in your weapon
You can take your item to Boston, Skegness, Lincoln and Grantham Police Stations providing it is packaged and bagged safely and appropriately. Check our website for opening times here https://www.lincs.police.uk/contact/police-stations/
There is no need to call ahead unless you have queries or concerns about your weapon or the process of handing it in.
If you are elderly, infirm or without transport, police will attend your home. Please call on 101.
Do not attempt to bring items that might be unstable, e.g. a hand grenade. Call 101 for advice.
Why are you running a firearms surrender now?
NABIS is running a national two week event and all forces have been invited to take part. We have taken up the opportunity to take part in this campaign to encourage communities to dispose of unwanted firearms safely.
We hope the public will support the initiative and get behind the campaign in 2019.
What is the main purpose of the firearms surrender?
To reduce the volume of guns in circulation in the UK which could get into the wrong hands.
How long will the firearms surrender last?
Monday 20th July to Sunday 4th August.
How effective are these campaigns for targeting real criminals?
During the national firearms surrender in 2014 more than 6,000 firearms and thousands of rounds of ammunition were recovered by police forces across the UK. In 2017, the total figure for firearms and ammunition combined was around 9,500. Any reduction in the volume of illegally held firearms in the UK reduces the opportunity for these weapons to fall into the wrong hands.
How many firearms and ammunition were surrendered in Lincolnshire in 2017?
142 firearms, none linked to previous criminality
What items do you think will be handed in?
In previous surrender campaigns there have been various weapons handed in including antique guns, air weapons, rifles, shotguns. We hope many weapons will be surrendered across Lincolnshire and Nationally If you want to safely dispose of a firearm or ammunition you can contact your local police force for advice by dialling 101.
What is the difference between a firearms surrender and a firearms amnesty?
Firearms surrenders allow law enforcement to examine the history and use of a firearm prior to its surrender. Any possession or use of the gun prior to its surrender may therefore legitimately be considered for investigation or prosecution.
A firearms amnesty may be considered by some to represent immunity from prosecution for the lifetime of the firearm, this is not the case a with firearm surrender; with a surrender any criminal use of that firearm will be examined and acted upon.
Any amnesty applies only at the point of surrender, not for any offences committed prior to the surrender.
What will happen to all the guns handed in?
A proportion of the firearms will be destroyed but some may be retained by NABIS or museums if they are of significant interest or unusual. Any guns which can be proved to be linked to a crime will be kept as evidence and retained for any future proceedings.
Will I get into trouble for surrendering my firearms?
During the two-week campaign, those surrendering firearms will not face prosecution for the illegal possession and they can remain anonymous. However, a prosecution may be sought if individuals are found in illegal possession of firearms after this period.
When and where can I hand in firearms?
Weapons can be handed to police station front counter staff at Boston, Sleaford, Grantham and Lincoln.
If someone is unable to travel to a police station they should contact police via 101 and arrange for the firearm to be collected.