A NEW police campaign is targeting the illicit use of firearms after a rise in thefts from rural properties.
Operation Unification, which is running throughout Australia and New Zealand, is also investigating the possession, manufacture and importation of firearms.
Head of practice for livestock and farm crime, Superintendent Craig Gillard, said police were concerned by an increase in the number of firearms being stolen from rural properties.
“We have long recognised that there is a black market for stolen firearms and unfortunately it is clearly linked to the drug trade. The increased risk that this presents to both members of the public and police is clear,” Superintendent Gillard said.
He said police would increase the number of inspections of licensed firearms holders to ensure their weapons were legally stored and all recorded and accounted for.
People found in breach of laws face being charged.
“This is aimed purely at making it harder for criminals to steal firearms.
“Operation Unification encourages information and intelligence sharing across jurisdictions about firearms and associated organised crime groups. It will also provide us with an opportunity to increase the recovery of stolen firearms and arrest and prosecute individuals with illicit firearms.
“We encourage licensed firearms holders to use the best possible means to secure their firearms, by building storage receptacles stronger than required. Keys should never be kept in open view of the firearms cabinet.”
Police are encouraging community members who have information about illicit firearms to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.