More than 200 firearms have been handed in to Gloucestershire Police during Operation Aztecs gun surrender. The Force are the first to implement the nationwide surrender, which saw six times the amount of guns and firearms handed in the last firearms surrender in 2014.
The operation was organised by NABIS (National Ballistics Intelligence services) to encourage people to hand in their firearms anonymously without the fear of prosecution. The massive increase in the amount of guns being handed in is being put down increased awareness of gun and terror related crime as well as the success of the pervious surrender.
Chief Inspector Jason Keates said: “There has been a great response from the public, and the number of firearms handed in has taken us by surprise. It is obviously better to get these out of circulation and remove any risk of them getting into the wrong hands and being used for criminal purposes.”
“The only reason we can think of for the increase is that people are more aware of reports of gun crime and the threat of terrorism, and feel safer getting rid of their guns.”
The majority of firearms have in have been melted down and some with local historical value are being offered to museums such as Soldiers of Gloucester. So far eight guns handed in have been linked to criminal activity with Police saying there investigating them further.
Keates says Gloucestershire Police are also still encouraging people to hand in over prohibited items such as torches which carry a five year sentence in this country.
“They are not legal in this country and if anyone is found in possession of one they face five years in prison, so it is clearly better to get rid of them and remove that risk.
“Anyone who still has these in their possession, or any other unwanted firearm, can hand it in to police and we will dispose of it for them.”