The Metropolitan Police has launched a two-week Give Up Your Gun campaign urging Londoners to hand in their firearms and avoid facing prosecution for their illegal possession.

The amnesty will begin at 7am on 23 November and run until 11pm on 6 December. Londoners will be able to take their weapons to a local 24-hour police station and hand them in without facing any questions. The surrender campaign is also focusing on imitation weapons, BB guns and air guns which can also be mistaken for real weapons.

"Gun surrenders provide an important opportunity for people to hand firearms over to the police to prevent them falling into the hands of criminals and endangering the public," said Detective Chief Superintendent Joanne Chilton, head of the National Ballistics Intelligence Service (NABIS). "We hope as many people as possible take this opportunity to surrender their guns."

Last year the Met carried out their first firearms surrender in six years. More than 350 firearms and 12,300 rounds of ammunition were handed in during the two-week initiative.

The Met has also launched a social media campaign to highlight the potential threat posed by imitation firearms which, even to highly-trained police officers, can appear real. The campaign will be posting a series of tweets with images of real and fake guns, giving people the chance to decide whether they are authentic or replicas. The hashtag #SecondsToDecide has been chosen for the campaign.

"Last weekend's tragic events in Paris have inevitably led to a heightened state of alert on the capital's streets," said Detective Superintendent Stephen Clayman of the Trident and Area Crime Command. "Gun crime, whilst low in London compared with other world cities, has a devastating impact on communities."