Hand in firearms, police in South Yorkshire urge

Zaf Ali with guns recovered in South Yorkshire
Zaf Ali with guns recovered in South Yorkshire
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Police chiefs are urging those asked by criminals to hide guns for them to hand the weapons in over the next two weeks.

A 12-day firearms amnesty was launched by police on Monday – giving South Yorkshire residents the chance to hand in guns and ammunition without the risk of being prosecuted.

Being found in possession of a firearm can result in a minimum sentence of five years imprisonment if convicted.

But in a bid to rid the streets of guns, weapons can be surrendered at police stations without questions being asked for the next 12 days.

Detective Chief Inspector Zaf Ali, leading the amnesty, said it was a chance for people who were hiding guns for others to hand them in.

“Every gun handed in is one less in criminal circulation,” he said.

“It is a chance for people who might be in illegal possession of a firearm to hand them in – it may have been to given to them to look after or it may have been left by a previous partner and they don’t know what to do with it – this is their opportunity.”

He warned those who carry guns to think of the lives they are putting at risk.

“They are not only putting their own lives at risk but those of their families too.”

DCI Ali said it was rare for anyone not involved in criminality to be shot or threatened with a gun.

He said: “It is very rare to come across an ordinary member of the public coming into contact with a firearm – unless they are caught up in an armed robbery, for example. 
“Most of the incidents we hear about involve criminals,” he said.

DCI Ali said gun crime in South Yorkshire accounts for 0.2 per cent of all recorded crime.

Firearms and ammunition can be handed in at Snig Hill, Moss Way and Ecclesfield police stations in Sheffield, Main Street station in Rotherham, Churchfields station in Barnsley and College Road police station, Doncaster.

The final date of the guns amnesty is Friday, November 21.