Archive image (credit: Alex Malikov)

Police on the Isle of Wight are urging Islanders to hand in guns and keep them off the streets.

“Just one gun off our streets could save a life”

says Hampshire Constabulary as it launches its Firearms and Ammunition Surrender week.

Police forces across the country are taking part in a national campaign that aims to reduce the number of illegally held firearms within our communities Hampshire Constabulary says each firearm handed in means one less gun at the risk of falling into the hands of a criminal.

Whether it is an old family heirloom that has been stored away for years, a former military weapon or an unwanted firearm which was previously legally owned – all can be handed into your local police station, safe in the knowledge that they will be disposed of safely.

Officers will also accept replica firearms, air weapons, BB guns, imitation firearms, antique guns, component parts and other ballistic items.

The surrender, which runs from today (13) until November 26th, is being run by the National Ballistics Intelligence Service (NABIS).

Head of Armed Response for the Joint Operations Unit for Hampshire and Thames Valley, Chief Inspector Emma Baillie says something needs to be done:

“We know that the consequences of firearms or replica firearms falling into the wrong hands can be fatal and can cause real fear within our communities.

“They also have the potential of being used against our own officers who could find themselves confronted with someone wielding a weapon in public.”

During the two-week campaign, those surrendering firearms will not face prosecution for the illegal possession upon surrender and can remain anonymous.

However, police say it’s not an amnesty and if further examination of a surrendered firearm reveals a link to a crime, this will be investigated.

Anyone who decides to hand in a firearm to Newport Police Station can do so Monday to Saturday from 9am until 6pm. It’s also open Sunday 9:30am to 6pm.

The station will be closed between 1pm and 2pm every day.

Hampshire Constabulary is asking anyone who is unsure about an item they have to call them on 101 to get advice on what they should do.

Alternatively, you can call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.