NSW Police launch Operation Armour to disrupt firearm theft in regional NSW

Operation Armour: Firearms in a row. Photo: Stock.
Operation Armour: Firearms in a row. Photo: Stock.

Mid-North Coast gun owners can expect incoming storage inspections as NSW Police aim to reduce the number of firearm thefts in regional areas including Port Macquarie.

The new campaign called Operation Armour, targeting firearm theft in regional areas, was launched in Tamworth on June 4.

Police will focus on Firearms Prohibition, Weapons Prohibition Orders and safe storage inspections.

Regional NSW Field Operations, Deputy Commissioner Gary Worboys said in the wrong hands firearms were a threat to the community.

"When in the wrong hands firearms are dangerous and a threat to the community. We will continue to do everything we can do to keep the public safe," he said.

"Firearms that are not stored securely or stored at locations that are not in daily or even regular use make easy opportunities for thieves during break-and-enters."

The operation will be conducted in all districts with general duties officers assisted by specialist police.

NSW armed robberies with firearms fell from 590 in 2007 to 156 in 2018, while robbery with other weapons fell from 2280 in 2007 to 837 in the same period, according to a Port Macquarie conference held by the Australian Hotels Association NSW in March.

Armed robbery conference: A slideshow discussing armed robbery held by the Australian Hotels Association NSW in March.

Armed robbery conference: A slideshow discussing armed robbery held by the Australian Hotels Association NSW in March.

The mid-north coast ranked in the top five police districts during a Firearms Amnesty in NSW which ran from July to September 2018, 79 firearms were surrendered from the area.

Mid North Coast Police District Detective Inspector Kim Fehon said local officers would be vital to reducing firearm theft in the Mid North Coast.

"Our rural crime investigators will be integral to Mid North Coast inspections for Operation Armour," she said.

According to NSW laws any person who possesses a firearm must take all reasonable precautions to ensure that it is kept safe, not lost or stolen and does not come into contact with unauthorised persons.

In addition firearms must be stored in a locked receptacle constructed of hard wood or steel and not easily penetrable, fixed to prevent easy removal unless weighing over 150 kilograms with locks of solid metal.

Failure to meet storage requirements can result in a fine of $2200 or 12 months imprisonment.

Western Region Commander, Assistant Commissioner Geoff McKechnie APM, said Operation Armour will also strengthen relationships between local police and the community.

"There's only so much police can do on our own we need the assistance of the community in reporting firearm thefts to us, so that we can get more guns off the streets and out of the hands of criminals," Assistant Commissioner McKechnie said.

"We understand that people in rural communities hold firearms for legitimate reasons, so following safe storage procedures is vital in the prevention of theft.

"People are reminded that there are hefty penalties for those who possess unregistered or illicit firearms."

More information about responsibilities of being a firearms owner, click here.

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