Ballarat police have received one of the largest hand-ins of illegal weapons in Victoria – and they hope more are on the way.
As part of the Victoria Police weapons amnesty running over October and November, police are inviting residents to hand over any unregistered or illegal guns and other weapons during the two-month period to avoid any criminal proceedings.
So far, Ballarat residents have surrendered handguns, shotguns, rifles, knives, a samurai sword and a machete.
With just three weeks to go, police have urged people to hand in any further weapons they might have.
At the end of October, 39 weapons had been handed in to Ballarat police, with only Bendigo (80), Frankston (47) and Ringwood (44) receiving more surrendered weapons.
Ballarat police acting senior sergeant Paul Kinna said all the weapons handed in would be destroyed.
He said police were concerned about all weapons, no matter the type.
“There’s been a certain rise in knife culture in Melbourne, and generally Melbourne trends towards Ballarat,” he said.
“Hopefully that trend doesn’t come here, but certainly there’s a knife culture in Melbourne.”
Acting senior sergeant Kinna said the amnesty was ideal for people to get rid of unwanted weapons they might have.
“For people to walk in carrying these weapons, they’re committing offences,” he said.
“The amnesty exempts people from that, no questions asked.”
Acting senior sergeant Kinna said all weapons must be wrapped in paper, plastic or cloth before disposal.
He said weapons must be transported in a manner that was safe and secure and conveyed from the place of storage to a police station by the most direct and practical route.
Despite the open invitation, arriving at local police stations with illegal weapons unannounced is not encouraged.
“People are encouraged to ring the police station before bringing items in,” he said.
To call the Ballarat Police Station about surrendering unwanted or illegal firearms or weapons during the amnesty, phone 5336 6000.
Visit http://www.police.vic.gov.au/weaponsamnesty for information on the amnesty, weapon types and licensing requirements in Victoria.