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Weapons amnesty

PUBLISHED: 17:26 26 March 2008 | UPDATED: 09:36 23 August 2010

GUNS and knives can be handed into police as part of a weapons surrender launched this week. The scheme will run from until April 20, and weapons can be handed into police stations across Kent, including Gravesend, Dartford and Swanley. It is the first

GUNS and knives can be handed into police as part of a weapons surrender launched this week.

The scheme will run from until April 20, and weapons can be handed into police stations across Kent, including Gravesend, Dartford and Swanley.

It is the first part of Kent Police's Safer Spring campaign and follows a similar initiative launched by the Metropolitan Police in January.

In addition to weapons being handed in, neighbourhood officers can be contacted to arrange visits to people's homes to take the weapons from them safely.

Superintendent Peter Wedlake, of Kent Police Partnership and Crime Reduction department said: "It is important to note that crime involving weapons in Kent is very low.

"However, we want to take as many weapons as possible off the streets of Kent. Any weapon handed into police is one that cannot be used in crime."

In a knife amnesty run by Kent Police in 2006, 4,000 knives were handed in.

During this campaign, police will work closely with Kent and Medway Trading standards, and visit retailers to educate them on selling knives and ball bearing guns. Officers will also work with schools distributing leaflets to teach pupils about the dangers of weapons.

Mr Wedlake added: "Anyone carrying a weapon illegally will be dealt with by the police and the courts. Carrying a weapon will not be tolerated. Imitation guns can look very realistic and can create fear and distress in the local community.

"Research shows that if you carry a weapon you are in danger of becoming a victim yourself, or being arrested by police and facing a prison sentence. We want to make Kent a safer place in which to live and this campaign is a chance for anyone to hand in any weapon they are in possession of."

Carrying a knife can result in a prison sentence of six months and a £5,000 fine. Being in possession of an imitation firearm can result in a prison sentence of 12 months, this includes BB guns, cap guns, collectables and other items that look like guns.

To report the misuse of weapons or people who may have an illegal weapons or crime can contact Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.

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