The Offensive Weapons Act surrender and compensation scheme commences on 10 December 2020. It will run for 3 months and close on 9 March 2021.
If you live in England or Wales
If you live in England or Wales you will, during this period, be able to surrender to the police those firearms, knives and offensive weapons specified in the 2019 Act. To do so, you must follow the arrangements set out in the accompanying guidance. The items that you should surrender are those that will become unlawful to possess when the prohibitions in the Offensive Weapons Act are brought in to effect. This will be after the surrender and compensation scheme ends on 9 March 2021.
If you live in Scotland or Northern Ireland
If you live in Scotland or Northern Ireland, the arrangements are slightly different. Between 10 December 2020 and 9 March 2021, you’ll be able to surrender to the police only those firearms specified in the 2019 Act. To do so, you must follow the relevant parts of the accompanying guidance.
Knives and offensive weapons
For knives and offensive weapons (England and Wales only) only those items that are specified in the accompanying guidance that can be surrendered as part of this scheme. This includes flick knives and gravity knives and those weapons that are already restricted by the Criminal Justice Act 1988. Further details of these weapons are provided in the guidance. These items can only be surrendered at specified police stations. Further details, including the opening times of these stations, can be obtained from your local force.
In the case of firearms (England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland) it is specific types of rapid fire rifles that must be surrendered. You can only legally possess these rifles if you have a certificate permitting you to do so, issued by the police. Further details are provided in the accompanying guidance. It is likely that police forces will contact you if you’re the lawful owner of one of these rifles. If you’re such a certificate holder and you do not hear from the police after the scheme has started, you should contact your local firearms licensing department.
Items that do not qualify
Only those items listed in the guidance may be surrendered as part of this scheme. If you take any other weapons to a designated police station during the surrender period, you may be required to surrender the weapon, but you will not be able to claim compensation.
If you travel to a designated police station for the purposes of this scheme you must follow the guidance for the scheme and ensure that you transport your items in the safe and secure manner specified. You must also follow all local coronavirus restrictions that apply where you live.
It is possible to claim financial compensation for items that are surrendered to the police in accordance with the requirements of this scheme. Only the items specified in the guidance will qualify for compensation. Compensation will not be paid for any other items surrendered to the police.
In order to claim compensation you must fully complete the compensation claim form. This must then be handed to the police at the same time as you surrender your weapon. You will not be able to claim compensation for a surrendered weapon at any other time. The scheme guidance provides further information.
The government has published a values list so that you can see the level of compensation that the government expects to pay for items that qualify under the scheme. The scheme guidance tells you what you must do if you think that your item is worth more than the specified amount. The guidance also tells you what you should do if you’re unable to surrender a weapon yourself.
As set out in the guidance, compensation will not be paid for any claim that totals less than £30.