Merseyside Police has received a total of 92 weapons handed in during a firearms surrender, and this includes 36 working firearms and more than 800 live rounds of ammunition.
The Force took part in a nationwide campaign co-ordinated by the National Ballistics Intelligence Service (NABIS), which began on Thursday 12th May and finished on Sunday 29 May.
The surrender was designed to give people in possession of firearms an opportunity to hand them in. This was also extended to those who had antique guns, replica and decommissioned firearms which could be converted and reactivated into a working weapon and used for criminal purposes.
Weapons handed included
- 28 shotguns
- 3 antique revolver
- 19 air rifles
- 2 imitation guns
- 10 blank firers
- 4 crossbows
- 1 sword
- 1 Mace (weapon)
- 800 live rounds ammunition
Detective Chief Inspector Rachel Wilson from Firearm Investigations said: “This is a great result as it means that there are 92 items out of circulation that could have fell into criminals’ hands.
“We had 36 working firearms surrendered. But even the imitation firearms and air weapons still have the potential to be used to cause fear, harm and intimidation in our communities because people wouldn’t know the difference between a BB gun or a working handgun if confronted with one.
“A Olympic blank firer was of particular interest to us as it was outlawed in 2010 because they can be easily converted into a working firing revolver. As a result it is an offence to own one, and you can imagine it is a very dangerous weapon that can cause serious injury or kill someone.
“We also had a number of blank firers handed in which were painted black to make them look like a real gun. This is also an offence because they have been purposefully altered to make them look very realistic which could be used to intimidate and frighten people.”
During the campaign, officers carried out a number of land searches across Merseyside to find weapons concealed in overgrowth, and in Birkenhead recovered a live handgun. A member of the public found a working pistol and bullets in Sefton Park, and a resident found a working firearm loaded with bullets behind his garden shed in Toxteth.
In addition, our Firearms Licensing Team contacted licence firearms holders, gun clubs and registered firearms dealers to encourage those to surrender firearms that are not being used.
Det Chief Insp Wilson added: “We are committed to protect our communities from criminals and criminal behaviour, so this firearms surrender works in tandem with the proactive work we do throughout the year to take weapons off the streets and put offenders before the courts.
“Even one incident involving a firearm discharge is one too many, and we are determined and relentless in our pursuit to continue to reduce this number.
“Every single day our officers are doing proactive work to remove guns and other potentially lethal weapons from our streets as part of our ongoing pledge to tackle serious and violent crime, disrupt criminal activity and put those making other people’s lives a misery behind bars.
“I would like to thank everyone who has supported this surrender and handed in their unwanted or unused weapons for safe disposal.
“Finally, I urge people that if they know where weapons are being stored or who is using them to let us know so that we can take action.
“Every weapon taken off our streets can save a life or prevent serious injury.”
Earlier this month officers recovered four working firearms – two self-loading pistols, a sub-machine gun and a sawn-off shotgun.
Merseyside Police has received 50 working firearms in the last six months from surrender campaigns – this includes a regional campaign which was held in November 2021.
The number of discharges in Merseyside is the lowest figure for 21 years with 39 firearms discharges in the region in the year-ending March.
Anyone with information about who is using or storing weapons in their area is asked to DM @MerPolCC, call 101 or contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.