An additional week has been added to the weapons surrender to support the launch of South Yorkshire Police’s hard-hitting Organised Crime Group and Armed Criminality campaign.
The extension follows surrender so far of 35 items including seven shotguns and 300 bullets,
The campaign has been designed to raise awareness and increase people’s knowledge of organised crime and armed criminality, and to offer reassurance and advice as to how the public can help by anonymously reporting suspicious activity and behaviour through the charity Crimestoppers.
Force lead for Armed Criminality, Detective Chief Inspector Steve Whittaker said: “Organised crime groups and people who choose to arm themselves and commit crime are responsible for damaging our communities and are a blight on society.
“We are committed in directly tackling and dismantling these groups in South Yorkshire and I want to send a strong message to those involved that it will not be tolerated and anyone who makes the decision to arm themselves with a weapon or to be involved in organised crime, we will bring you to justice.”
Initially as a strand of the OCG campaign, the weapons surrender has been running since Monday July 11. With today’s extension, anyone who chooses to hand in a firearm or knife up until Monday August 1 will not be prosecuted for possession, whether the weapon is illegally owned or if it’s just been passed down as a family heirloom and is no longer wanted.
While immunity is provided against prosecution for possession at the time of surrendering the weapon, if it is later found to have been used in previous criminal activity, it will be investigated by police and there could be potential prosecutions.
So far, 35 items have been surrendered including 7 shotguns and 300 bullets, and the other types of weapons that can be handed in include, but are not limited to, air weapons, BB guns, handguns, antique firearms, imitation firearms, ammunition, samurai swords, machetes, switchblades and daggers.
DCI Whittaker added: “Every gun and knife given up is one less on the streets that can fall into the wrong hands and potentially end up in criminal circulation and lead on to armed criminality taking place, and I would strongly encourage people to take advantage of the extension and hand in any weapon that is unwanted or illegally owned.
“There are a vast array of both overt and covert operations already in progress to enable us to reduce the number of OCGs in our county, and the campaign launched today is to encourage the public to come forward and to increase their confidence in reporting issues and concerns in their area.
“I want to reassure the communities in South Yorkshire that we are aware of these groups and their crimes and we are taking action against them, but we do need the public’s assistance and information.
“If you have any information regarding gangs, the use of firearms or any suspicious activity in your area, I would urge you to anonymously contact the charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111, who will treat your call with the utmost confidentiality and sensitivity.”
All weapons to be surrendered should be brought in to one of the five police stations that have a public enquiry desk; Snig Hill and Ecclesfield in Sheffield, College Road in Doncaster, Park Street in Wombwell, Barnsley and Main Street in Rotherham. Please check the opening times of each station at www.southyorkshire.police.uk
For further information regarding the surrender call South Yorkshire Police on 101.