People will be able to walk into a police station with guns, knives and ammunition and face no prosecution tomorrow (Thursday).
West Yorkshire Police is launching a ten-day weapons amnesty which will allow people to walk into Halifax Police Station and hand over weapons without fear of facing criminal action.
The Force said the campaign, running from Thursday, November 20, to Sunday, November 30, will “avoid weapons getting into the wrong hands and provide members of the community with a safe place to dispose of firearms, ammunition, knives and other weapons they have”.
West Yorkshire Police Assistant Chief Constable Andy Battle said the move, which has been replicated by other Forces across the country isn’t because of any rise in crime involving weapons and is instead an attempt to stop people being caught out by a follows a recent change in the law which now makes it illegal for certain people to hold antique weapons.
“We have worked hard to reduce gun and knife crime and it remains low in West Yorkshire. We take firearms offences very seriously and don’t want people to fall foul of the law by keeping hold of these weapons,” he said.
“This is not in response to any particular incidents in West Yorkshire but reflects the change in the law and gives people the opportunity to safely bring them into police. It is about preventing injury and harm to members of the public and making them safe and feel safer.
“We would urge members of the public to hand in any weapons at their local police station. Failure to do so would be a serious matter and could lead to some very serious charges.”
During this period those surrendering firearms, ammunition knives and other offensive weapons will not face prosecution for simply possessing these weapons and they may wish to remain anonymous.
The initiative is being supported by the Save a Life, Surrender Your Knife campaign which aims to bring together anti-knife campaigners across the country to reduce the number of weapons on the streets and make communities safer.
Mark Burns-Williamson, West Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner, said: “I fully support this weapons surrender. It is reassuring to know that gun and knife crime remains low across the county, but I would urge people to take advantage of this surrender to hand in weapons they have that may be illegal.
“Because of the changes they could now unknowingly be breaking the law by possessing such weapons and the surrender gives them a perfect opportunity to ensure the weapons are disposed of safely and ensures we are doing all we can to keep our communities safe and preventing potential crimes of the future.”
People can hand weapons in to Halifax Police Station, Richmond Close, Halifax,between 7am and 11pm Mondays to Sundays. Alternatively they can go to Elland Road, Killingbeck or Weetwood Police Stations Leeds; Bradford South Police Station; Keighley Police Station; Huddersfield Police Station; Dewsbury Police Station or Wakefield District Headquarters.
Anyone with information about the illegal possession or use of firearms should contact West Yorkshire Police on 101 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.