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Crackdown on illegal guns delivering results

Crackdown on illegal guns delivering results

Police are very pleased with the public’s response to Operation Unification. During the two week campaign members of the public are being encouraged to report suspicious behaviour involving firearms including guns in the possession of unlicensed holders.

Assistant Commissioner Malcolm Burgess said during Operation Unification Police have received valuable intelligence through the usual reporting channels but also via the anonymous Crimestoppers phone line.

“Police are heartened by the way the community has embraced this campaign,” Mr Burgess said.

“It is clear that by harnessing the anonymous Crimestoppers service we have been given information that we may not have discovered through our standard reporting channels.

“We have received tips about unlicensed gun owners, hunting rifles owned by people who do not hunt and warnings about elderly people who may not be aware of how to keep their guns secure.

“Police have also received several tips about individuals who own guns and are alleged to be involved in the illegal drug trade.”

Advertisements on Trade Me this week will spread the message that reporting unsafe weapons helps to keep families and communities safe.

During Operation Unification there have been two high profile burglaries involving firearms.

Counties Manukau Police are still investigating the theft of 15 hunting rifles and several thousand rounds of ammunition from a Buckland’s Beach property on June 13.

Mr Burgess said gun security was not an issue in the Auckland burglary incident but it was in Dargaville three days later.

“Unfortunately in that instance two guns were stolen from a property during a burglary because they were not locked away.

“Operation Unification is a great time to remind licensed gun owners that they must keep their firearms secure.”

Mr Burgess said a recent Wellington District operation showed once again that too many guns are in the hands of organised criminal groups.

“The termination of Operation Python in Wellington District reinforced our belief that the possession of unlicensed guns and the drug trade are closely linked.”

The operation recovered $20,000 worth of methamphetamine, a significant haul of stolen property, six guns, nine swords, three replica guns and an air pistol.

Operation Unification runs until Saturday 28 June. You can report any suspicious activity involving guns to Crimestoppers anonymously by calling 0800 555 111, or by contacting your local police station.

“If you know weapons are in the hands of people without a license, we encourage you to report it for the safety of all those around you,” Mr Burgess said.

ENDS

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