WEST Midlands Police’s say that to show their determination to tackle violent crime, they are to hold a two-week firearms surrender from Monday 14 May to Sunday 27 May.
The last surrender saw nearly 250 potentially lethal weapons and ammunition handed in comprising over 100 working firearms including rifles, shotguns, revolvers and handguns.
In addition, silencers, starting pistols, air weapons and two deactivated machine guns including an SKS 7 and a ‘tommy gun ’ were taken into local police stations across the force area.
Already this year the force has taken 53 firearms off the streets (not including firearms handed into them) amid 45 reported firearms discharges, compared to 62 in the same period last year.
Detective Inspector Rod Rose, from the Force’s CID Prevent team, said: “Previous gun surrenders have proved very successful in removing firearms from our streets and we have an excellent track record of putting criminals who create fear and violence through firearms before the courts, with ten gang members recently jailed for more than 70 years – and just last week two more were jailed for over 12 years for possession of an illegal firearm –
“Although enforcement activity is important, it is vital that police, partners and the community work together to stop young people being involved in violent crime and gang activity before it gets to that stage.
“There is significant community support for this activity, and we’re working with other agencies as well to try and make our towns and cities safe for local people.
“We are working tirelessly to understand the reasons why young people carry weapons. We work closely with schools, the Children’s Trust, the Youth Offending Service and other partners and parents to understand the pressures young people feel to be involved in gang activity and support them in turning their back on that way of life.
“We realise that peer pressure, family breakdown and many other factors can have a bearing on why a young person follows a gang lifestyle, when other opportunities could be explored with the right direction.
“Therefore I would urge anyone who is holding a gun , maybe through fear or misguided loyalty to someone else, to hand it in now, otherwise the alternative could be up to five years in prison.”
Weapons can be surrendered at any West Midlands Police station or by calling the force on 101 and arranging for officers to make home visits.
It’s also hoped the surrender will stop unused shotguns or antique firearms – often World War relics gathering dust in loft spaces – from potentially falling into the hands of criminals.
West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner David Jamieson said: “I welcome the campaign by West Midlands Police to tackle the problem of violent crime. The last surrender saw nearly 250 weapons handed in to police, many of which could have fallen into the wrong hands.
“Every weapon taken off the streets, is potentially a life saved.
“This is a positive move which contributes to the work I am doing as part of my strategy to tackle Gangs and Violence. Initiatives such as this are effective because they have the support of the local community.
“The consequences of violent crime have a devastating impact. That is why I have pledged £2million into a range of projects including a team of expert violence negotiators, mentoring schemes and a set of programmes to provide alternative activities for young people at risk of offending.”
Guns can be surrendered anonymously but the history of live weapons handed in will be checked for any evidence of criminal use; the firearms will either be destroyed at the West Midlands Police armoury or retained for training exercises.
Guns can be taken to any one of the ten police stations across the West Midlands but people are advised to check station opening times in advance.
To receive advice on how best to transport the weapon responsibly from home to the police station phone 101 before travelling. Anyone unable to reach a police station is also advised to call 101 and arrangements can be made to collect the weapon.
If you suspect anyone to be involved in illegal firearms call West Midlands Police on 101 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.
All stations where firearms can be surrendered are open from 8am – 10pm except for Birmingham Central which is open 24 hours:
The nearest Police Station to Tamworth where firearms can be surrendered is Sutton Coldfield which can be found at Lichfield Rd, Sutton Coldfield, B74 2NR.