Dozens of guns handed in at South Yorkshire police stations
Dozens of guns have been handed in at police stations across South Yorkshire over the last week.
A 'surrender' scheme has been running in the county since last Monday, where anyone who hands in a gun or knife will not be prosecuted for possession.
Police chiefs are urging mums, sisters and girlfriends of men who carry weapons to hand them in to reduce the risk of their loved ones using them or getting injured themselves.
Investigations will be launched if examinations reveal that any of the weapons have been used in crimes.
So far, 62 weapons have been handed in, including 13 pistols, seven shotguns, four handguns and over 400 rounds of ammunition.
South Yorkshire Police said there has been an increase in gun and knife crime nationally.
In South Yorkshire there has been a 6.9 per cent increase in incidents where weapons have been used, compared to a 27 per cent hike nationally over the last year.
Detective Superintendent Una Jennings, responsible for the police response to armed criminality in South Yorkshire, said the surrender scheme is one strand of the work being carried out to rid the streets of deadly weapons.
Hot spot areas and known offenders are being targeted daily and the force is planning a series of test purchase operations.
An education programme about the dangers of carrying guns and knives has been delivered to 5,000 South Yorkshire school children so far this year and Sheffield Hallam University is carrying out some research looking at why people arm themselves.
The research will be based on previous South Yorkshire cases in a bid to identify root causes.
Det Sup Jennings said: "We will be working with our partners to address the root problems behind armed criminality rather than just responding to the symptoms."
She said criminals who carry weapons should now expect to be challenged, arrested and prosecuted.