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Express & Star comment: Amnesty is sadly sign of the times

By Star Comment | Opinions | Published:

Any attempts to make our streets safer are to be welcomed – particularly at a time when police resources are stretched to their limits.

The latest amnesty on firearms must be viewed as a positive step, albeit one that will shock many members of the public who may have grown up in less violent times.

The fact that police forces now feel their best chance of getting weapons off the streets is through adopting such measures tells its own story.

But we are where we are, and modern day Britain has sadly become a place where the criminals have the upper hand.

The last time there was an amnesty, in May 2018, a staggering 115 firearms were surrendered at police stations across the West Midlands, including more than 30 guns and 45 air weapons.

That is 115 firearms that could not be used in robberies or raids, or used to threaten or attack members of the public and hard working police officers.

In recent years violent crime has risen dramatically across this region.

While officer number have fallen, those who are left on the beat are having to deal with increasingly brutal crimes.

An amnesty is one way of removing dangerous weapons from our streets, something which has also happened as a result of the successful knife bins scheme around the Black Country.

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But it is only one element of an approach to crime that must always have public safety at its heart.

There is no doubt that prevention is a vital part of police work. Stopping people from getting involved in gangs and violent crime is crucial if we want to make our communities safer.

We understand that peer pressure, family breakdowns and other factors can have a bearing on why people turn to violence.

But addressing prevention will only work if it comes alongside effective enforcement.

The rising tide of violent crime must be stopped in its tracks, and this can only happen if our police forces are given the resources they need to fight crime – as well as the full backing of our judiciary.

Dangerous weapons must be taken off the streets, but so must the violent individuals who choose to use them.

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