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Gun amnesty

In Manchester, police are appealing for people to ‘Give up the Gun’ with a two week amnesty for the surrender of firearms and ammunition, starting at 7am on Saturday, July 12. It’s been six years since the last firearms amnesty in Greater Manchester, where the force asks the public to surrender unlawfully held or unwanted guns and ammunition to help prevent them getting into the wrong hands.

The Greater Manchester force says that many firearms are held in innocence and ignorance of their illegality or are overlooked and forgotten in people’s homes. The amnesty gives holders the chance to dispose of the firearm or ammunition with no questions asked, by simply taking it to a local police station and handing it in.

The amnesty will be held for two weeks to 11.59pm on Saturday, July 26. Surrendering unwanted, unlicensed weapons avoids the risk of them becoming involved in criminality and means that members of the community can dispose of firearms in a safe place. Those surrendering firearms will not face prosecution for the illegal possession and they can remain anonymous.

During the amnesty there will also be a change in legislation which will make it illegal for certain people to hold weapons such as antique firearms.

Detective Chief Inspector Debbie Dooley of Xcalibre Task Force said: “Gun crime in Manchester continues to fall year on year since the last amnesty we held in 2008. This is a result of continued efforts from the Force and our partners working together to safeguard, educate and intervene at the earliest opportunity. The last fatal gang shooting was Giuseppe Gregory in 2009, and the last fatal non-gang shootings were the tragic circumstances surrounding Nicola Hughes and Fiona Bone in 2012. These deaths, although not recent, are still far too many. We therefore want as many weapons as possible and would encourage people to hand them in.

“Together with our partners we continually work hard to educate young people about firearms and the dangers that come with them, to ensure that gun crime doesn’t become prevalent in the future.”

Weapons and ammunition can be surrendered at any police station but anyone handing in a firearm, ammunition or any other weapon during the amnesty is advised to check the opening times of their station by calling 101 or visiting the GMP website.

Greater Manchester’s Police and Crime Commissioner Tony Lloyd said: “Greater Manchester has led the way in both reducing and sustaining the reduction in gun crime over several years. This is as a direct result of the police, public bodies such as local authorities, probation or youth offending services and – crucially – communities working together in a genuine partnership. But that doesn’t mean we can be complacent. This year’s amnesty shows that we won’t stop trying to address this issue. Anyone in possession of a firearm should take this opportunity to hand it in without facing prosecution – it is simply the smart thing to do.
“I’ve seen first-hand the destruction that guns have caused to families and communities in our area. Every weapon removed from the streets potentially represents a life saved, or indeed many lives saved. So take this opportunity to do the right thing and get rid of that deadly weapon. This amnesty will help us realise our goal of having streets that are safe and free from guns.”

Gary Murray from the crime reporting charity Crimestoppers said: “Crimestoppers is proud to back GMP’s campaign to reduce the number of firearms in our community. We want the public to know that we take crime seriously and that, with their help, we can make Greater Manchester a safer place to live.”

If you know of people involved in illegal firearms call Greater Manchester Police on 101 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111. Crimestoppers is offering a reward up to £1000 for information that lead to the recovery of a firearm and an arrest and conviction.

• Between April 2013 and March 2014, a total of 21 firearms discharges were recorded across Greater Manchester, the lowest number of recorded offences since records were initially collated (2003/04).
• There have currently been nine discharges recorded during the current fiscal year.
• No fatalities have been recorded since September 2012.
• The number of injuries as the result of firearms discharges within GMP has also been in decline since a peak in 2007/08. The lowest number of injuries was recorded in the 2012/13 period. To date there have currently been two discharges involving injuries during the current fiscal year.

For guidance on how best to transport a weapon responsibly from home to the police station, the public are advised to call 101 or to visit www.gmp.police.uk/giveupthegun.


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