Chief Insp Paul Winter’s column: Working hard to prevent violence in Mansfield and Ashfield
I can hardly believe we’re in March already but this week the force has started a month of action on Violent Crime.
This is part of our ongoing Alliance Against Violence campaign and our mission to prevent violence in our communities.
Part of this has seen us launch a fortnight-long gun amnesty and we’ve already had several shotguns taken into Mansfield Police Station for our firearms unit to dispose of safely.
I expect many firearms are held innocently, with the holders not realising that guns in this country are illegal, or indeed the gun they have is unlicensed.
Do you have a handgun that your granddad gave to you from the war? Just because it’s old does not mean it’s considered antique and so it’s likely illegal.
What about that rusty old shotgun you inherited from your Great Uncle Bob? There’s a strong chance it’s no longer licensed. Or then there’s the display gun above your fireplace that you were told is deactivated. Is it by today’s standards?
The amnesty is the time to err on the side of caution, hand them in anonymously and you will not face prosecution for illegal possession. The history of each live weapon, however, will be checked for evidence of its use in crimes.
They will then be smelted and recycled.
Gun crime is down, with possession of a firearm having reduced by 41 per cent in Mansfield and Ashfield since 2008, but we are continually working to keep it on the downward slope.
If you wish to hand in a firearm, or a stun gun, during the amnesty make sure you check the opening times of the 15 participating police stations (including Mansfield, Sutton, Hucknall), where possible, phone 101 before travelling.
Now the weather is a bit brighter you might have come across some of our very young uniformed faces.
No our officers haven’t found a miracle anti-aging face cream – these are our voluntary cadets.
We recruited more than 70 cadets across the force last September, after a gap of nearly 30 years.
The cadets, who are all aged 16 on joining, take part in a two year training and development programme.
They meet once a week on a weekday evening, where they learn about a range of topics including; police history, first aid, conflict management skills and campaigns; including those to reduce road traffic accidents, anti-social behaviour, and alcohol related crime.
We have 22 cadets that regularly cover the Mansfield and Ashfield area and they have been out and about with the Neighbourhood Policing Team giving crime prevention advice and assisting our PCSOs with community projects.
We are now recruiting again for more young volunteers aged 16 years old to start next September. You will find more information and how to apply on our website. Closing date for entries is Friday 14th March 2014.