Esperance Police operation to tackle illicit firearms

Esperance Police are set to participate in a state-wide operation to tackle the issue of illicit firearms in WA.

Operation Bluesun, initiated by the WA Police Force, is set to be a multi-phased effort to remove illicit firearms and promote the secure storage of licensed firearms.

A report, undertaken by the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission, estimates that there are 260,000 firearms on the national illicit market.

Regional WA Commander Jo McCabe said the operation was about the community working together to maintain safety and security.

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

“The overwhelming majority of firearm license holders are responsible and Bluesun is about reducing opportunities for criminals to steal these weapons.

“We are working with firearms groups and owners to ensure compliance and reduce the incidence of opportunistic firearm thefts in our community.”

January 2016 to July 2018 saw more than 1300 firearms reported stolen in WA, with 51 per cent stolen in the metropolitan region.

Since July 2018, there have been 52 firearm theft incidents in which 11 handguns and 128 rifles were stolen.

Forty-nine of these incidents occurred at residential premises and 33 involved a compliance breach on behalf of the owner.

As part of the operation, Esperance Police senior sergeant Steve Thompson said firearms license holders and gun owners would be contacted by police to arrange an inspection time and be provided with information on the standard of security required.

Officers will be delivering infringements to those who have allowed their firearms license to lapse.

Sergeant Thompson encouraged members of the public to contact them if they had firearms they no longer required, as officers would be able to assist with their disposal. 

To contact Esperance Police, call (08) 9079 8999.