From Monday November 13th, until the end of Sunday November 26th, Northumbria Police will take part in Operation Aztec.
Operation Aztec is part of a National Firearms Surrender, giving members of the community an opportunity to safely and anonymously dispose of firearms and ammunition.
The purpose of the surrender is to reduce the risk of harm to the public as well as protecting our communities.
Previously such items have included weapons that have been overlooked, antiques, inheritances or that belong to family and friends.
This is a surrender not an amnesty. This surrender does not mean that the police will not investigate any offences prior to its surrender and the public should be reassured that we will continue to vigorously investigate offences linked to any firearm we receive.
Northumbria Police’s Chief Inspector Dave Gould our local lead on the surrender said: “This surrender gives people an opportunity to safely and anonymously dispose of firearms and ammunition in a safe environment.
“The more firearms and ammunition out of harm’s way helps us keep our communities safe, avoids the risk of them getting into the wrong hands and the possibility of them being used in crime.
“The surrender not only applies to firearms and ammunition, but includes replica firearms, air weapons, BB guns, imitation firearms, component parts and other ballistic items. No firearm will be refused.
“Fortunately Northumbria has a low number of firearm related crimes however, we want to do all we can to get these types of weapons off our streets and out of our communities. Every weapon we retrieve has the potential to save a life and I urge people to get involved and do the right thing.”
While there are designated police stations for the surrender, the public can go to any police station and they will accept any and all firearms and ammunition. For a list of designated police stations please see below:
Prudhoe Street, Alnwick, NE66 1UJ - 9am to 5pm (5 days a week)
Lintonville Terrace, Ashington, NE63 8HD - 9am to 5pm (5 days a week)
Schalksmuhle Road, Bedlington, NE22 7LA - 8am to 8pm (7 days a week)
Church Street, Berwick upon Tweed, TD15 1DZ - 9am to 5pm (5 days a week)
Clifford Street, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE6 1EA - 9am to 5pm (5 days a week)
Etal Lane, Westerhope, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE5 4AW - 9am to 5pm (5 days a week)
High West Street, Gateshead, NE8 1BN - 8am to 8pm (7 days a week)
Shaftoe Leazes, Hexham, NE46 3DG - 9am to 5pm (5 days a week)
Dairy Lane, Houghton le Spring, DH4 5BL - 10am to 2pm (5 days a week)
Newcastle City Centre
Forth Banks, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE1 3PH - 8am to 8pm (7 days a week
Upper Pearson Street, North Shields, NE30 1AB - 9am to 5pm (5 days a week)
Millbank, Station Road, South Shields, NE33 1RR - 8am to 8pm (7 days a week)
Church Bank, Southwick, Sunderland, SR5 2DU - 8am to– 8pm (7 days a week)
Middle Engine Lane, Wallsend, NE28 9NT - 8am to 8pm (7 days a week)
The Galleries, Washington, NE38 7RY - 9am to 5pm (5 days a week)
Front Street, Whickham, NE16 4HE - 9am to – 5pm (5 days a week)
For frequently asked questions please see below:
Q1) How long will the surrender campaign last?
A) Police forces are encouraged to run the campaign for two weeks between 13 and 26 November this year.
Q2) What is the main purpose of the firearms surrender?
A) To reduce the volume of guns in circulation in the UK which could get into the hands of criminals. A surrender could save lives.
Q3) How effective are these campaigns for targeting real criminals?
A) Several forces have held gun surrenders since the last national surrender three years ago and this has resulted in hundreds of firearms and rounds of ammunition being handed in. This can only be a good thing. It takes the weapons out of circulation and out of the hands of criminals.
Q4) What items do you think will be handed in?
A) In previous campaigns there have been various weapons handed in including antique guns, air weapons, rifles, shotguns. We hope many weapons will be surrendered across the UK. If you want to safely dispose of a firearm you can contact your local police force for advice by dialling 101.
Q5) What is the difference between an amnesty and a gun surrender?
A) An amnesty exists around a particular point in time when a firearm is surrendered to a lawful authority. Any possession or use of the gun prior to that may be considered for prosecution. The amnesty is not valid for the lifetime of the firearm. Police may still consider prosecution linked to any offences committed before the weapon is handed in during a surrender campaign.
The message we want to get out is that anyone with a gun they don’t want or do not legally hold should give it up during the surrender campaign and not wait for the police to turn up at their address.
Q6) What will happen to all the guns handed in?
A) A proportion of the firearms will be destroyed but some may be retained by armourers if they are of significant interest, unusual, etc. Any guns which can be proved to be linked to crime will be kept as evidence and retained for any future court case proceedings.
Q7) If gun crime levels have been falling why do we need surrender campaigns?
A) It is true that gun crime levels generally have dropped in the last decade and compared to other countries our gun crime levels are low. However latest figures show gun crime is now on the rise and we cannot be complacent about the continued threat to our communities from criminals with access to guns. NABIS, working together with UK police forces, are determined to carry on suppressing the threat. Gun surrenders are one way to show the public how seriously we all take this issue. We want to get as many firearms out of circulation and off the streets as possible. One gun in the wrong hands can have catastrophic consequences.
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