Hundreds of gun owners put their hands up during firearm amnesty

One of the hundreds of guns submitted during Herts Police's firearms amnesty
One of the hundreds of guns submitted during Herts Police's firearms amnesty

More than 200 weapons - including 23 from Dacorum – have been taken off the county’s streets as part of an overwhelmingly successful police firearm amnesty.

A total of 223 guns, three crossbows and a tank shell were all surrendered to police as part of the county force’s initiative, which was the first of its kind in more than a decade.

The initiative to rid Herts of illegally-held weapons began on November 10 and ended on Friday, allowing gun owners to give up their illegally-held weapons with no threat of prosecution by the force.

A total of 22 air rifles, 23 air pistols, 46 shotguns, seven rifles, 18 handguns, 26 starting pistols, three signal pistols, seven antiques, one deactivated weapon and 12 other guns have so far been handed in to officers, with five days yet to go in the drive.

Also given up were 58 imitation weapons, three crossbows and 4,000 rounds of various calibre ammunition, across the 141 separate surrenders.

In Dacorum, a total of 23 weapons were surrendered. In the county, Stevenage revealed the highest surrender rate with 66 items handed in. Nearby St Albans gave up just 10, and a tank shell was detonated in a controlled explosion after being reported to police in Watford.

Chief Supt Jane Swinburne said: “I am delighted with the response from the public who have fully engaged in this amnesty and helped to make the county an even safer place to live.

“We never expected to get such a response and I’m pleased to say that the majority of firearms have been surrendered by citizens who have given full details to the police, either via our collection service or by bringing them into police stations.

“With the help of the public we have managed to take over 200 guns out of public circulation and have reduced the chances of these firearms falling into the hands of criminals. Gun crime accounts for less 1% of crime in the county, and following this amnesty I am hoping that we make our streets even safer.

“The police have worked hard to ensure this operation ran smoothly and this has been borne out by the number of people who have contacted us to make sure they were not breaking the law, either by handing in weapons or getting advice from our firearms officers.

Recent changes to firearms laws, which came into force in July, could mean some gun owners may be unaware they are in possession of an illegal firearm.

Anyone who is still concerned about firearms in their possession should call 101 to speak to a firearms licensing officer.