By Jorgie McHale-Ramsell
GUN AND knife owners in the Yorkshire and Humber region are being encouraged to hand over their weapons as part of a police amnesty.
Police will confidentially accept weapons including knives, ammunition and other offensive weapons up until November 26 and owners can remain anonymous under the National Weapons Surrender campaign. They will not be prosecuted for possession.
According to the Office for National Statistics, West Yorkshire currently has the highest recorded crime severity score in the country at 13.6, above London which scored 13.2.
The crime severity score ranks crimes based on the harm caused to its victims and West Yorkshire scored higher for ‘serious crime’ than anywhere else in the country.
West Yorkshire Police assistant chief constable Catherine Hankinson said: “We want to remove weapons so they don’t end up in the wrong hands on the streets.”
The latest crime figures issued on October 19 by the ONS show that crimes involving firearms in England and Wales have increased by 27 per cent to 6,696.
However, around 65 of those weapon related crimes were reported in West Yorkshire in the past month.
A spokesperson for West Yorkshire Police gave a statement: “Many weapons are held in innocence and ignorance of their illegality or are overlooked and forgotten in people’s homes.
“The surrender gives members of the public the chance to dispose of them by simply taking them to a local designated police station and handing it in.”
Michael Smith MBE, founder of Word4Weapons, an anti-knife and gun crime charity who have taken part in the surrender, said: “We can’t say how many lives have been saved, but we can say this is what we’re uncovering.”
Carrying a gun can amount to a minimum five-year jail sentence and possession of a knife lands individuals with around a four-year sentence.
The aim of the campaign is to combat crime related to possession of dangerous weapons to keep individuals as safe as possible.
Detective chief superintendent Jo Chilton said: “Surrendering unwanted or illegal firearms avoids the risk of them becoming involved in crime and means that members of the community can dispose of them in a safe place.”
If you know or anyone you know is involved with illegal firearms call the police on 101 or independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111