ACT Policing has today (Thursday, May 23) launched its support of the Australia New Zealand Police Advisory Agency’s (ANZPAA) two-week national campaign targeting illicit firearms.
Acting Chief Police Officer David Pryce said that while the use of illicit firearms in the ACT is rare, Operation UNIFICATION provides an opportunity for the ACT community to help remove illicit firearms from the hands of criminals and off the streets.
“While ACT has seen a 34 per cent decrease in the number of reported firearm offences in the past five financial years, the use and distribution of illicit firearms is an Australia-wide issue, and one which does not operate within borders,” Commander Pryce said.
“We are pleased to be joining with Crime Stoppers to urge members of our community to provide information about people they may know or suspect have illicit firearms in their possession. It is important to remember that information can be given anonymously via Crime Stoppers, and could also result in a reward payment.”
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Bryan Roach, Chairman of Crime Stoppers ACT, said Crime Stoppers has played an integral part in assisting police since 1996 and looks forward to continuing this relationship.
“Crime Stoppers is about encouraging the public to call when they see suspicious or criminal behaviour in their community. Our motto is: See something, Hear something, Say something. This is exactly what we want you to do with this Operation,” Mr Roach said.
Commander Pryce attended the national launch of Operation UNIFICATION earlier today in Melbourne at the ANZPAA Crime Forum, where Assistant Commissioners from all States and Territories came together to unite against illicit firearms.
The Operation will run for two weeks, from May 24 until June 7.
“During the two weeks we hope to receive information from the public to remove as many illicit firearms off the streets of Canberra as possible.”
“Focused national efforts, and using the Crime Stoppers’ information-gathering capability, helps increase police intelligence which can lead to arrests, the seizure of illicit weapons and preventing serious harm to the community. Any information about illicit firearms is valuable. If you think you know something, or have heard someone bragging about illicit firearms or their intention to use one, please call us. This information may help police prevent a serious crime from occurring or someone becoming the victim of a firearms incident.”
“The involvement of illicit firearms in crime raises the stakes exponentially. It lifts the risks from dangerous to potentially lethal. Help us to keep you safe by taking a firearm out of the hands of a criminal,” Commander Pryce said.
Illicit firearms are weapons that are illegally imported or manufactured in Australia, stolen from registered owners and/or that may be used in criminal activities.
Firearms that are not safely stored are at risk of being stolen and falling into the hands of criminals.
Anyone who has information about illicit firearms is urged to call Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 and speak with police in confidence.
[Courtesy ACT Policing]