A TOP cop has said the force want to impact on the ability of organised crime groups getting their hands on firearms ahead of a new surrender campaign which starts today.
Govan police station will now accept firearms and ammunition as part of the Firearms Surrender Campaign, which has been launched following several high profile shootings in the city.
From today until Sunday, July 1, people in possession of firearms and ammunition, for which they do not hold a valid certificate, will be able to surrender these to police.
In addition the public will be able to hand over replica firearms, air weapons, BB guns, imitation firearms, component parts and other ballistic items.
Assistant Chief Constable Bernard Higgins, of Police Scotland, said: “We want to impact on the ability of organized crime groups to get their hands on firearms because these individuals show a reckless disregard for the safety of the public.
“So anything we can do in addition to our ongoing enquiries, and other disruptions and interventions that we do to make the availability of unlawfully held firearms away from the crime groups.”
He added: “Protecting the public sits at the heart of everything we do and the purpose of the Firearms Surrender Campaign is to remove firearms from criminal availability, thereby reducing the risk of harm to the public and our communities.
“Similarly if people still have unwanted air weapons that are unlicensed, or have come across old firearms while clearing out a house, these can be surrendered during the campaign.
“We want to reassure the public that all reasonable steps are being taken to reduce the amount of illegally held firearms within the public arena.”
Anyone handing in a firearm does not have to provide their own personal details. It is understood, however, that the force will continue to investigate the history of the firearm to identify any prior use in crime, and if they can prove use/misuse of the firearm prior to surrender, to bring a prosecution.
Michael Matheson, Cabinet Secretary for Justice, said: “Firearms offences are at historically low levels in Scotland. Nonetheless, there is always a risk that unused or unlicensed firearms could fall into the wrong hands. I therefore welcome Police Scotland’s campaign to remove unwanted weapons from our communities, and would urge anyone who has a firearm that they have no good reason for keeping to take this opportunity to safely surrender it to the police.”
Lord Advocate James Wolffe QC added: “We will continue working with partners including the police to protect Scotland’s communities by removing the risk posed by illegal firearms.
“Anybody surrendering a firearm or other relevant item during Police Scotland’s two week campaign will not be prosecuted for simple possession of the item. The immunity only applies to handover of the weapon and not to any other offence it may be linked to after examination.”