Po­lice start ran­dom searches for firearms

Geraldton Guardian - - COURTS / POLICE - Tamra Carr

Ger­ald­ton po­lice will ran­domly in­spect the homes of firearm own­ers in the next two months as part of an op­er­a­tion tar­get­ing firearm se­cu­rity.

The Statewide Op­er­a­tion Blue­sun will also fo­cus on il­le­gal firearms.

In a press con­fer­ence on Wed­nes­day, Mid West Gas­coyne district of­fice Act­ing Insp. Levinia Hugo high­lighted the need for firearm se­cu­rity.

“Be­tween Jan­uary 2016 and July 2018, a to­tal of 1317 firearms were stolen in WA, with 58 per cent of those stolen in re­gional WA,” Insp. Hugo said. “Firearm own­ers are re­quired to com­ply with strong leg­is­la­tion re­gard­ing stor­age.”

Po­lice are in­ves­ti­gat­ing the theft of a firearm and am­mu­ni­tion in Mount Mag­net about 3am yes­ter­day.

In­spec­tor Hugo said the owner had left the firearm and am­mu­ni­tion un­se­cured in his ve­hi­cle.

Re­gional WA Com­man­der Jo McCabe said Blue­sun would help en­sure in­no­cent mem­bers of the pub­lic were un­af­fected by firearm crime.

“Firearms in­ci­dents are un­usual in Western Aus­tralia but there have been a num­ber of re­cent events that have height­ened our con­cerns,” she said.

“Th­ese in­ci­dents are fre­quently a re­sult of crim­i­nals’ ne­far­i­ous deal­ings with other crim­i­nals but there is al­ways a risk that an in­no­cent mem­ber of the pub­lic will be af­fected by firearm-re­lated crimes.

“This is pre­cisely why we have ini­ti­ated Blue­sun.”

Fig­ures up to late Oc­to­ber showed that more than 85,000 peo­ple legally own about 328,000 firearms in WA.

Since July, there have been 11 hand­gun thefts in WA and 128 ri­fle thefts.

Al­most 50 of th­ese thefts oc­curred at a house and 33 in­volved a com­pli­ance breach, such as fail­ing to prop­erly se­cure the weapon.

So far, 10 peo­ple have been charged in re­la­tion to th­ese thefts.

Any­one with in­for­ma­tion is urged to call Crime Stop­pers on 1800 333 000.

Firearm own­ers who want to surrender firearms should con­tact Ger­ald­ton po­lice.

Mid West Gas­coyne District Of­fice Act­ing In­spec­tor Levinia Hugo at a Ger­ald­ton Po­lice Sta­tion press con­fer­ence.

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