CRIMINALS in the Felixstowe area are today being given the chance to hand in their knives, guns and other weapons – with no questions asked.The resort is having a weapons amnesty for the first time, with a special secure bin in the town centre for people to anonymously leave items.
CRIMINALS in the Felixstowe area are today being given the chance to hand in their knives, guns and other weapons – with no questions asked.
The resort is having a weapons amnesty for the first time, with a special secure bin in the town centre for people to anonymously leave items.
The campaign – launched today – is part of the Nightsafe partnership scheme to reduce crime and disorder and will also include extra night-time policing over the next two weekends to curb early summer trouble.
Police officers say while the weapons amnesty bin is a chance for criminals to dispose of weapons safely and without fear of prosecution, there may be many people not involved in crime who hold weapons and wish to get rid of them.
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Felixstowe police commander Insp Neal Atwell said often people had old military weapons, home-made items from their youth, or collected items which were stored or simply forgotten about.
"You might have a sword on your lounge wall and have always wanted to get rid of it but didn't know how to and it just continues to hang there," he said.
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"Or people might have items stored away which they have forgotten about, think don't work, or just haven't got round to disposing."
He said this was an opportunity for people to safely get rid of such weapons – whatever the circumstances they might have been acquired in or held in the past.
There was always the possibility that such a weapon could be stolen at some stage or found by a child, and it was better to bin them now.
The secure bin is the Cobbold Road/Crescent Road car park opposite the library and will be there for two weeks. It will be regularly emptied by police officers.
Meanwhile, from tomorrow until Sunday, and again next weekend, there will be extra officers on duty in Felixstowe working with pubs, clubs, council departments and residents' groups to target violence, damage and disorder.
Officers say the weekends have been chosen to coincide with Euro 2004, and the initiative will also take place in Woodbridge, Leiston, Beccles and Lowestoft.
Det Ch Insp Phil Aves said officers wanted to see everyone enjoying themselves but also being considerate to others.
"Public place violence, damage and anti-social behaviour will not be tolerated and extra officers will be out on high visibility patrols to deter this kind of incident and to catch anyone who thinks they can get away with it," he said.
"We will also deploy plain clothes officers to identify and stop trouble early.
"We want pub and club-goers to be safe and have fun, while minimising disturbance to local residents and, although police and partner agencies work towards these aims throughout the year, these two weekends will focus our attention on these areas."
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