SURRENDER your weapons —that is the call from South Yorkshire Police who kicked off a two-week weapons amnesty today.
Guns, knives and weapons can be handed in without fear of prosecution for possession at the point of surrender.
South Yorkshire Police have joined up with forces in West Yorkshire, North Yorkshire and Humberside to launch the initiative which officers hope will prevent weapons from falling into the wrong hands.
The weapons surrender is supporting a national firearms surrender across the UK, coordinated by the National Ballistics Intelligence Service (NABIS).
Both the regional weapons and national firearms surrender will end at 11.59pm on Sunday, November 26.
During the 14-day surrender, people will not face prosecution for possession of the weapon at the point of handing it in at any of the designated police stations across the Yorkshire and Humber region.
But all the weapons surrendered will be forensically examined and if they they have been used in a crime an investigation will begin.
Det Supt Una Jennings, armed criminality lead for South Yorkshire Police, said: “Weapons do not recognise boundaries which makes the national firearms and regional weapons surrender this month an ideal opportunity for people to anonymously hand in any guns, ammunition, knives and bladed articles.
“While we know individuals already involved in criminality will be unlikely to hand in any weapons, there will be people who will have been passed down an antique firearm by a family member, or have items such as samurai swords that may have previously been used for decoration in the home, and they are now no longer wanted.
“The surrender provides the perfect opportunity to safely dispose of these weapons and to prevent them from ending up on the streets and falling into criminals hands, which only brings destruction and devastation to our communities.
“While South Yorkshire has seen an increase in the possession and use of weapons, as is the picture nationally, there are a vast array of both overt and covert operations already in progress across our county.
“I want to make it very clear that the use of weapons in South Yorkshire will not be tolerated and I’d urge you to please think of the life changing consequences just carrying a weapon can have.
“Possession of a firearm alone will result in a minimum five-year prison sentence. Even if you’re just holding it for a family member or friend, it’s you that will face prosecution and end up behind bars.
“Similarly, possession of a knife carries up to a four-year sentence, with the risk of a lifetime in jail should you use it and fatally injure someone.
“I would strongly encourage people to please take advantage of the surrender and hand in any weapon that is unwanted or illegally owned. Every gun and knife given up is one less that can end up in criminal circulation, and can potentially save a life.”
For a list of police stations where weapons can be handed in and opening times, visit www.southyorks.police.uk/surrender.
Anyone with any information regarding the use of firearms, weapons or suspicious activity can contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.