Unwanted air weapons should be surrendered at police stations across Scotland from next week ahead of new licensing legislation coming into effect.
That is the message from Police Scotland at the start of a three week surrender campaign which runs from Monday, May 23, to Sunday, June 12, 2016.
New rules will make it illegal for anyone to possess an air weapon without a licence under the Air Weapon and Licensing (Scotland) Act 2015, which comes into force from December 31, 2016. However, prior to this date, anyone holding an air weapon has six months to either obtain a certificate or to surrender their weapon(s) to the police.
Over the three week surrender campaign a total of 72 police stations - from Lerwick to Stranraer - have been designated as locations where air weapons can be handed in if owners do not wish to apply for a licence.
Inspector Carol Ann Brown of the Divisional Coordination Unit in Tayside said: “The public will be asked to attend designated police offices during the campaign to hand in air weapons.
“Members of the public wishing to surrender weapons are requested to ensure that the weapon is covered and secured at all times during transport to prevent causing fear and alarm to other persons.
“I would encourage those members of the public who do not wish to apply for licences to hold the weapons to take this opportunity to safely dispose of the weapons.”
The Designated Police Offices within Tayside Division which will have trained staff on duty to receive Air Weapons are:
Forfar Police Divisional Headquarters, High Street Forfar, DD8 1BP
Dundee Police Headquarters, West Bell Street Dundee, DD1 9JU
Perth Police Headquarters , Barrack Street Perth, PH1 5SF
Assistant Chief Constable Mark Williams, of Police Scotland, said: “Protecting the public sits at the heart of everything we do and Police Scotland fully supports the new legislation and the more robust licensing arrangements that will be introduced. I would urge members of the public who own air weapons but don’t intend licensing them to take advantage of our surrender campaign.
“There will be 72 stations across Scotland where you can safely surrender your unwanted air weapons to trained staff. Take a moment or two to look out old or unwanted weapons and follow the advice on our website regarding how to safely transport them and where to take them. Getting rid of these unwanted air weapons will make our streets safer. Remember if you keep air weapons and don’t have a license you will be committing a criminal offence.”
A number of police officers have been provided with specialist training to support the safe surrender process and to assist in the management of demand during the period of the campaign and beyond.
To find out where your nearest designated station is, and the hours of operation, please see www.scotland.police.uk/airweaponsurrender. There you can also get helpful advice on how to safely transport the weapons.