Police mount 1,000 firearms operations after shootings across West Midlands

 West Mids

Force gun amnesty has seen 118 items handed in, including 37 lethal weapons and ammunition

West Midlands Police has mounted more than 1,000 firearm operations since April and has been handed 118 items in a gun surrender launched just two weeks ago.

Chief Constable David Thompson said the activity of the force’s armed officers has increased in response to a spate of shootings in Birmingham during the summer.

He also said a gun surrender had already removed dozens of weapons from the streets.

The force also launched its gun surrender in September - less than 24 hours after Mekel Sterling, 34, was gunned down in Hockley’s Great Hampton Row last month.

It was the seventh fatal gun attack in the West Midlands in just two years.
Since the surrender was launched the force has received 118 items, including 28 imitation firearms, 37 lethal weapons, a number of deactivated weapons and a quantity of ammunition.

Chief Constable Thompson, speaking at a Police and Crime Board meeting, said: “From April this year we have completed 1.054 armed operations. They generally run at about 170, or so a month.

“The ones based on intelligence have increased, particularly because of the work we have been doing to try and increase intelligence collection.

“It has increased so far this year, particularly in the summer periods.”
Speaking about the decision to bring the surrender forward he said: “There will be a national surrender this year, but we decided in light of the threats we have been facing that we would bring that forward.

“By the end of last week there were 118 items, which has included 28 imitation firearms and 37 lethal weapons. There has also been a number of deactivated weapons and a quantity of ammunition.

“The frequency and use of firearms in tight geographic areas can seriously undermine the community confidence in policing and the general security.

“Because these incidents involve firearms it can also directly impact on people’s willingness to share information.

“I would urge people to contact us directly or through Crimestoppers anonymously. We don’t need huge amounts of information from the public, but if people do know where firearms are that always helps us.

“The amount of resource and energy that is applied to combat this problem is considerable.”

Police and Crime Commissioner David Jamieson said: “West Midlands Police are getting dangerous weapons off our streets and protecting communities from the scourge of violence.

“The gun surrender means that there are now more than 140 fewer weapons in the West Midlands.

“Every gun handed-in potentially is a life saved.

“If anyone out there has a weapon - or knows someone who does get in touch with West Midlands Police, it may be the best decision you ever make.”

Birmingham Mail

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Wednesday, 02 December 2020

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