This year the campaign will also focus on imitation weapons, BB guns and air weapons, and the potential for these items to be mistaken for genuine weapons. A social media campaign will highlight how realistic imitation firearms can appear - even to the highly-trained eye of a firearms officer - and the dangers faced by anyone carrying such an item in an inappropriate setting. This will include a number of tweets beginning Monday 23 November with images of guns giving people #secondstodecide whether the guns posted are real or fake.
Detective Superintendent Stephen Clayman of the Trident and Area Crime Command, said:
“We are asking Londoners to hand in firearms and imitation weapons to avoid them falling into the wrong hands. In an inappropriate setting, imitation weapons will cause fear and panic, and could lead to a police response involving the deployment of armed police officers, with potentially tragic results. Using an imitation firearm inappropriately may lead to a conviction for a serious criminal offence.
Last weekend’s tragic events in Paris have inevitably led to a heightened state of alert on the capital’s streets. Gun crime, whilst low in London compared to other world cities, has a devastating impact on communities. Trident is committed to ridding the capital’s streets of firearms, and last year Met officers recovered over 600 ‘lethal barrelled’ firearms.”
Head of NABIS, Detective Chief Superintendent Joanne Chilton, said:
"Gun surrenders provide an important opportunity for people to hand firearms over to police to prevent them falling into the hands of criminals and endangering the public. We are pleased that the Metropolitan Police Service are running this operation and we hope as many people as possible take this opportunity to surrender their guns."
Last year, the Met carried out its first firearms surrender for six years. The two-week initiative was very successful with over 350 firearms and 12,300 rounds of ammunition handed in.
Anyone wanting more details about how to surrender firearms or ammunition should contact their local police. If you have any information regarding gun or gang crime you can call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 or access a secure online form via www.crimestoppers-uk.org. In an emergency always call 999.