Boy arrested in Grantham during operation to take weapons off the streets
A 13-year-old has been arrested as part of a police operation to take weapons off the county's streets.
The teenager was arrested in the town on October 23, on suspicion of possessing a weapon, as part of Operation Raptor. He has been released under investigation.
This morning, three warrants were executed at addresses across Lincoln as part of the operation, a dedicated campaign to tackle weapons offences.
It was the latest action in an intelligence-led campaign which has so far seen more than 30 people arrested and more than 30 weapons seized including knives, guns and baseball bats.
The action is targeted in Grantham, Lincoln, Gainsborough and Sleaford.
Police say further robust action to tackle offenders will be taken, while Neighbourhood Policing Teams will be engaging with schools and communities to provide education on the dangers and potential consequences of carrying weapons.
While Lincolnshire remains one of the safest counties to live in the country, there has been a rise locally in weapons offences. This reflects a broader national increase.
Figures published last month showed that the average number of incidents per 100,000 people in Lincolnshire involving knives stood at 35, which is a 15 per cent increase, year-on-year.
In England and Wales during the year to June 2019, there was a 16 per cent increase in possession of weapons offences.
Superintendent Lee Pache said: “Offences involving weapons can have, and have had, a devastating impact on individuals, families and communities.
“Lincolnshire is a safe county and we want it to remain that way. We’re determined to take weapons off the streets and protect the public, while also encouraging people to report offences to us and working with communities to inform them on the dangers of these types of crimes.
“Our message is simple: we will take action to make sure weapons are not in the hands of criminals, and continue to keep people safe.”
As part of Operation Raptor, the police are also launching a weapon surrender from today (November 4), in which members of the public can hand in weapons including knives and firearms to the county’s four main police stations.
Over the next few weeks the licensing team will complete test purchasing at various stores in the west area, and use specially-designed ‘wands’ to check for weapons among those attending bars and nightclubs.
The police will post updates on social media under #OpRaptorLincs
Detective Inspector Mark Seage said: “We understand that every weapon poses a potential threat if not licensed and stored safely. That’s why we’re offering people this opportunity to safely dispose of any unwanted weapons.
“One less weapon means one less opportunity for it to fall into the wrong hands.”
Although Operation Raptor is focused on tackling the issue in the west of Lincolnshire, anyone in the county can take their weapons to police stations at Lincoln, Grantham, Skegness or Boston.
Among the items which can be handed in are:
- BB guns;
- CS canisters;
- Knuckle dusters;
- Imitation or replica weapons can also be handed in.
During this period, those giving up weapons will not face prosecution for illegal possession at the point of surrender, and they can remain anonymous.
However, as this is a surrender and not an amnesty, police may investigate offences once the operation has concluded.
You should contact police immediately if you know that someone else has a weapon illegally or are concerned about someone in possession of any weapon, even if they have a licence.
In an emergency dial 999, or call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.
How to hand in your weapon
You can take your item to Grantham, Boston, Skegness or Lincoln providing it is packaged and bagged safely and appropriately. Check the website for opening times here
There is no need to call ahead unless you have queries or concerns about your weapon or the process of handing it in.
If you are elderly, infirm or without transport, police will attend your home. Call 101 for assistance.
Do not attempt to bring items that might be unstable, e.g. a hand grenade. Call 101 for advice.