A weapons amnesty launched in the north of England with the backing of a teacher stabbed by one of his pupils has led to an enormous haul of guns and knives being handed over – including two AK47 assault rifles. Some 80 guns and more than 150 "bladed and offensive weapons" have been surrendered to West Yorkshire police stations in the past month.
The campaign, launched at the beginning of January, was backed by Vincent Uzomah – a Bradford teacher stabbed by a pupil in a racist attack last year. He said: "The response has been very impressive. Well done to those who responded to this noble call, and surrendered their weapons."
Surrender campaigns are regularly run by police forces across the country, allowing members of the public to anonymously hand over weapons without fear of being prosecuted for their possession. Among the latest haul was an AK47 rifle handed over in Bradford and another AK47 rifle, surrendered in Kirklees.
The West Yorkshire initiative was supported by the Save a Life, Surrender Your Knife campaign which aims to bring together anti-knife campaigners across the country to reduce the number of weapons on the streets and make communities safer.
Temporary Assistant Chief Constable Angela Williams, of West Yorkshire Police, said: "We are delighted with the response. Some of these weapons are clearly very dangerous. Now they will not find their way on to the streets of our communities. They will not be used for criminal activity or to hurt or, worse, kill someone.
Breakdown of weapons handed in by Policing district:
Bradford: 33 firearms and 26 bladed and offensive weapons
Calderdale: 3 firearms and 25 bladed and offensive weapons
Kirklees: 12 firearms and 22 bladed and offensive weapons
Leeds: 29 firearms and 82 bladed and offensive weapons
Wakefield: 4 firearms and 0 bladed and offensive weapons
"While we continue to maintain a low number of recorded crimes involving guns, knives and other weapons, we take it extremely seriously, which is why initiatives like this are held.
"Weapons surrenders like this are very important and even though we have had these handed in we cannot afford to be, and will not be, complacent."
The police force said it was still concerned over the number of weapons on the streets, revealing it was currently investigating a shooting in Huddersfield that had taken place over the weekend.
Mark Burns-Williamson, West Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner, said: "I have fully supported this weapons surrender and am pleased we have had so many weapons handed in.
"This surrender has given individuals a perfect opportunity to ensure the weapons are disposed of safely and ensures we are doing all we can to keep our communities safe and preventing potential crimes of the future."