National surrender scheme for certain firearms and offensive weapons
People in Suffolk are being given three months to surrender certain items that will soon be classed as offensive weapons under new legislation coming into force.
The Offensive Weapons Act 2019 introduces the new legislation as part of the Government’s response to serious violence, that gives the police the powers to tackle the issue. The Act includes new measures to control the sale of knives and corrosive substances, it also introduces new offences relating to their possession and use and will bring in new knife crime prevention. Under the new laws, the possession of specified rapid firing rifles, bump stocks, knives and offensive weapons for public safety, will be prohibited.
In order to ensure the public can dispose of these items safely, a three month surrender period starts today, Thursday 10 December and will run until Tuesday 9 March 2021. During this time the lawful owners of these weapons can begin to surrender them to the police and submit a claim form for compensation from the Home Office.
Temporary Chief Inspector Jon Chapman head of the Joint Roads and Armed Policing Team said: "It is extremely important that anyone who is currently in possession of one of the above items, is aware of the change in legislation.
"Although there is a three month surrender period, we urge lawful owners of these items to either return them to a designated police station or contact their local licencing department as soon as possible.
"The reason for this being that anyone found in possession of these items after the surrender period will effectively be in possession of an illegal weapon or firearm and could face up to ten years in prison.
"Please ensure that when you are transporting items to one of the designated police stations, you do so in a safe manner. This includes wrapping items or placing them in a bag or a box, if possible. Please also make sure that you do not take the items out until you are requested to do so by a police officer or member of staff.
"Members of the public should also continue to adhere to the Covid regulations when attending stations by making sure they are wearing a mask and socially distancing from those around them.
"If possible, please call 101 beforehand to ensure officers or staff are aware of your visit.”
Police and Crime Commissioner for Suffolk Tim Passmore said: " I’d just like to stress how important it is for anyone who owns any of these weapons to hand them in as a matter of urgency.
"Laws change for good reason and I would not want anyone who holds these weapons now quite legally, to find themselves in trouble when the law changes in March 2021.”
Those in possession of knives or other offensive weapons must fill in the following Offensive Weapons Act Surrender and Compensation Scheme Form, before bringing this and the item(s) to a police station designated for the purpose. This form must be completed regardless of whether the owner is seeking compensation or not. Owners should also bring valid Identification and proof of ownership - this could be a receipt of purchase or something similar. In Suffolk, the designated police stations are either Ipswich (Museum Street), Bury St Edmunds and Lowestoft.
To surrender firearms, relevant certificate holders are likely to be contacted by force licencing departments, with arrangements to be made to collect these items from their homes, rather than requiring them to attend a police station. Please take all reasonable steps to make the firearm safe to handle.
If you have not been contacted by the Firearms Licencing Unit, then please call Chris Wright on 07770831503 or email: [email protected].
For more information about the scheme, including a full list of the above items, the forms and whether you are eligible for compensation, please visit: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/offensive-weapons-act-surrend...