The Hunter Valley Police District (HVPD) is targeting illegal firearm theft as a part of the state wide Operation Armour.
The NSW Police FOrce launched the Operation in Tamworth this week that will be conducted in rural areas in all Police Districts. General duties officers will be assisted by specialist police from the Firearms Registry, Rural Crime Prevention Team, the Drug and Firearms Squad, and the Criminal Groups Squad’s Strike Force Raptor throughout the operation.
The operation will focus on preventing, disrupting and reducing firearm thefts. Firearms Prohibition Orders and Weapons Prohibition Orders will be conducted, as well as safe storage inspections.
HVPD Superintendent Chad Gillies said it's a new initiative that is very prevalent to the district.
"The Hunter Valley in particular as far as the Northern Region goes has the most firearms and the most firearm holders so it is particularly relevant to our area,"
"What we are trying to do is get around to as many houses as we can and ensure that our safe storage inspections are conducted to make sure people are doing the right things with their firearms and help harden them for break and enters," he said.
"The legislation changed recently which essentially means people must store their firearms at their primary residence, we were finding a lot of weekender style properties were being targeted and some people weren't utilising those houses for months which essentially delayed the report so now people have to store their firearms where they live and what we're doing now is going around and increasing our safe storage checks in the area."
"We will be looking particularly at looking at those who have in excess of 20 firearms and certainly those who have never had an inspection conducted before,"
"I'm training a lot of our local police to support our licensing officers to increase our local capability."
"I should stress the vast majority of registered firearm owners are very responsible and take this very seriously but we do have occasions where they aren't taking proper precautions and the firearms end up in the wrong hands," added Superintendent GIllies.
More information about responsibilities as a firearms owner, including licences, permits; sale and purchase, and safe storage can be found at the Firearms Registry page on the NSW Police Force website: https://www.police.nsw.gov.au/online_services/firearms
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