WEST Midlands Police is taking part in a national two-week firearms surrender to help the fight against violent crime.

Members of the public are being urged to hand in any firearms, including guns, ammunition, stunguns and pepper spray, to police stations as part of the surrender, led by the National Ballistics Intelligence Service, which will run from Saturday July 20 to Saturday August 4.

The last local surrender in May 2018 saw 115 firearms surrendered, comprising of more than 30 lethal firearms and 45 air weapons.

During the 2017 national surrender, more than 9,500 items were handed in across the country.

So far this year, the force has taken 46 viable firearms off the streets - this does not include firearms handed in - amid 68 confirmed firearms discharges in the same period.

Chief Superintendent Mark Payne, from force CID, said: "Previous gun surrenders have proved very successful in removing firearms from our streets and potentially avoided them getting into the hands of criminals. 

“We have an excellent track record of putting criminals who cause fear before the courts and only last week three gang members were jailed for 40 years for firearms offences and earlier this month a man was jailed for eight years after a loaded gun was found in his car. 

“Although enforcement activity is important, it is also vital that police, partners and the community work together to stop young people being involved in violent crime and gang activity before it gets to that stage.

"We realise peer pressure, family breakdowns and many other factors can have a bearing on why a young person follows a gang lifestyle, when other opportunities could be explored with the right direction.

"Therefore I would urge anyone who is holding a gun, or knows anyone holding a gun, maybe through fear or misguided loyalty to someone else, to hand it in now, otherwise the alternative could be up to five years in prison.

“We also hope the surrender will stop unused shotguns or antique firearms - often World War relics gathering dust in loft spaces - from potentially falling into the hands of criminals.

"The surrender in 2017 saw one gentleman hand in 10 replica firearms along with ammunition, which belonged to his late uncle that he had been storing for years as he didn’t know what to do with them.

He urged people not to risk weapons falling into criminal hands - adding: “Criminals can reactivate these guns and an ‘underground’ armourer provide bespoke ammunition."

Weapons can be surrendered at any West Midlands Police station or by calling the force on 101 or via live chat on the force website and arranging for officers to make home visits.

West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner, David Jamieson, said: "I welcome this campaign by West Midlands Police to tackle the problem of violent crime. The last firearms surrender saw more than 100 weapons handed in to police, many of which could have fallen into the wrong hands. 

"This is an opportunity for people with firearms to stop, think and take positive action. Every weapon taken off the streets, is potentially a life saved.

“My message to anyone who has an unlicensed firearm is ‘do the right thing, hand it in’." 

Guns can be surrendered anonymously but the history of live weapons handed in will be checked for any evidence of criminal use; the firearms will either be destroyed at the West Midlands Police armoury or retained for training exercises.

Brierley Hill Police Station in Bank Street, Brierley Hill, is among stations where weapons can be handed in between 8am and 10pm. Alternatively they can be surrendered at Birmingham Central Police Headquarters, Lloyd House, Colmore Circus, Birmingham, 24/7 during the surrender period.

Advice on how best to transport weapons responsibly from home to the police station call 101 before travelling. 

Anyone unable to reach a police station is also advised to call 101 and arrangements can be made for the weapon to be collected.

Anyone who suspects someone of being involved in illegal firearms is urged to call West Midlands Police on 101 or Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111.