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19 November 2014, 12:29
Dorset Police say their gun surrender campaign has seen a total of 93 weapons handed in.
It ran for two weeks between Monday 3 November and Sunday 16 November 2014 to encourage anyone holding an illegally-held firearm to dispose of it safely.
The initiative was aimed at local people in the community who wished to hand in unwanted firearms and help take guns out of circulation permanently.
It also gave licence holders the opportunity to surrender weapons they no longer had use for.
A total of 93 firearms were surrendered to stations across Dorset during the campaign. This included: 31 handguns, 11 air rifles, 27 shotguns, seven air pistols, six BB guns, four replica guns, five rifles, one humane killer and one bird scarer. A large amount of ammunition was also handed in.
Operational Support Superintendent Nicky Searle, from Dorset Police, said:
“We are extremely pleased at the success of this firearms surrender and would like to thank everyone who took part.
“The vast majority of these surrendered firearms were not being used in criminal activity. Our aim is to stop guns falling into the wrong hands. Every gun given up is one less that poses a threat or that criminals can potentially get hold of.
“I would like to remind residents that Dorset is a very safe place to live with very low levels of gun-related crime. Levels of illegally held firearms are low but this surrender was a real opportunity for members of the public to relinquish any weapons that may be outside the law.”
Individuals taking part in the campaign received an amnesty for possession of the firearm at the point of surrender/handover to a lawful authority. It did not provide immunity from prosecution if the weapon was found to have been used unlawfully.
A small number of firearms handed in during the gun surrender will be submitted to The National Ballistics Intelligence Service (NABIS) for examination. Any guns that are proved to be linked to a crime will be kept as evidence and retained for any future court case proceedings.
A previous firearms amnesty staged in Dorset in 2003 saw more than 300 firearms handed over to police. This included starting guns, BB guns, air weapons, shotguns, pistols and rifles. A quantity of ammunition was also surrendered.