Citation(s) from the literature library

Stavrianakis, Ann, In: Faltas, Sami and Vera Chrobok (Eds.). 2004 ‘Storage and Destruction of Surplus Small Arms.’ Disposal of Surplus Small Arms: A survey of policies and practices in OSCE countries, pp. 37-38. Bonn: Bonn International Center for Conversion, BASIC, Saferworld, and the Small Arms Survey. 1 February

Relevant contents

Storage and Destruction of Surplus Small Arms

Surplus police service weapons are destroyed; the policy for this is set out in the 2000 document, Destruction of Surplus Police Firearms, which is a confidential document.(28)…

… force armourers are in charge of the disposal of weapons. A document from 2000, Destruction of Surplus Police Firearms, published by the Working Group on Police Use of Firearms, outlines the rules governing the issue. These guidelines broadly state that all surplus police weapons and all seized firearms are to be destroyed: none are to be made available to the second-hand market … [page 38]

Firearms collected or confiscated from the population are also to be destroyed. None of the surrendered weapons are to be sold within the UK or abroad, although a small number may be kept for training purposes or by museums for display. (29)

There are only two exceptions to the policy of destroying all seized firearms: if a weapon is of particular historical interest it is sent to the Pattern Room, which is owned by the MoD and houses a collection of 22,000 weapons; alternatively, if a weapon is particularly unusual it is sent to the Forensic Science Service for testing. HM Customs also have the power to seize illicit firearms and ammunition and have their own arrangements for disposal, but these mirror police practices.

Sources cited:
28) ACPO Manual of Guidance on Police Use of Firearms (UK)
29) House of Commons Written Answer, 17 November 1997,

[ACPO = Association of Chief Police Officers of England, Wales and Northern Ireland]

ID: Q3926

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