Force launches weapons surrender initiative (19 Nov 2014)

West Yorkshire Police is giving people the chance to hand over guns and other weapons.

The weapons surrender, starting on November 20 and lasting ten days, follows a recent change in the law which now makes it illegal for certain people to hold antique weapons and is one of a number organised this year by police forces across the country.

Police believe many people may be affected by the change in legislation and have firearms in the home which have been overlooked or forgotten, or someone could have come into possession of one through family members, or have deactivated weapons or trophies of war.

At the same time police are urging members of the public to hand in any other weapons they hold including knives and offensive weapons.

The initiative aims to avoid weapons getting into the wrong hands and provide members of the community with a safe place to dispose of firearms, ammunition, knives and other weapons they have.

During this period those surrendering firearms, ammunition knives and other offensive weapons will not face prosecution for simply possessing these weapons and they may wish to remain anonymous.

The initiative is being supported by the Save a Life, Surrender Your Knife campaign which aims to bring together anti-knife campaigners across the country to reduce the number of weapons on the streets and make communities safer.

West Yorkshire Police Assistant Chief Constable Andy Battle said: "We have worked hard to reduce gun and knife crime and it remains low in West Yorkshire. We take firearms offences very seriously and don't want people to fall foul of the law by keeping hold of these weapons.

"This is not in response to any particular incidents in West Yorkshire but reflects the change in the law and gives people the opportunity to safely bring them into police. It is about preventing injury and harm to members of the public and making them safe and feel safer.

"We would urge members of the public to hand in any weapons at their local police station. Failure to do so would be a serious matter and could lead to some very serious charges."

Mark Burns-Williamson, West Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner, said: "I fully support this weapons surrender. It is reassuring to know that gun and knife crime remains low across the county, but I would urge people to take advantage of this surrender to hand in weapons they have that may be illegal.

"Because of the changes they could now unknowingly be breaking the law by possessing such weapons and the surrender gives them a perfect opportunity to ensure the weapons are disposed of safely and ensures we are doing all we can to keep our communities safe and preventing potential crimes of the future."

Throughout the surrender, West Yorkshire Police will work with Royal Armouries, home to the national collection of arms and armour, to help save any important and rare weapons from destruction.

Deputy Master of the Royal Armouries, Dr Thom Richardson, said, "We have worked with the Police for the past 20 years and we are delighted to be able to offer our expertise in this way. As a result, many important weapons, which would otherwise have been destroyed in the past, have been saved for the national collections at the Royal Armouries, Imperial War Museum and National Army Museum, or distributed to local and regimental museums across the UK." 

Weapons can be handed in at the following police stations:

Elland Road Police Station, Elland Road, Leeds, LS11 8BU
8am - 10pm - 7 days a week

Killingbeck Police Station, Foundry Lane, Seacroft, Leeds, LS14 6NN
8am - 10pm - 7 days a week

Weetwood Police Station, 300 Otley Road, Leeds, LS16 6RG
Open 8am - 10pm Monday to Sunday, Closed Bank Holidays

Bradford South Police Station, Trafalgar House, Nelson Street, Bradford, BD5 0DX
8am - Midnight Mon - Sun    

Keighley Police Station, Airedale House, Royd Ings Avenue, Keighley, BD21 4BZ
8am - Midnight Mon - Sun  

Halifax Police Station, Richmond Close, Halifax, HX1 5TW
7am - 11pm Mon - Sun    

Huddersfield Police Station, Castlegate, Huddersfield, HD1 2NJ
8am - 10pm Mon - Sun

Dewsbury Police Station, Aldams Road, Dewsbury, WF12 8AR
8am - 10pm Mon - Sun

Wakefield District Headquarters, Havertop Lane, Normanton, WF6 1FD
8am - 10pm Mon - Sat

Anyone with information about the illegal possession or use of firearms should contact West Yorkshire Police on 101 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.

© Copyright West Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner 2018