Who will check the Police are managing what gets handed in?
The Newspapers declare how much safer we’ll be after the new Australia-wide firearms amnesty. Will the criminals who’ve spent large sums of money obtaining illegal handguns just turn them all in? We don’t know for sure, but we do know that Police have previously let plenty of seized and surrendered guns get out. So we thought we’d ask the Firearms Amnesty Project (FAP) team at Queensland Police about how they’re ensuring guns don’t come in the front door and walk out the back door.
Dear Firearms Amnesty Project team,
You are running an major project that will involve supervising the collection and destruction of thousands of firearms. Ensuring that surrendered firearms don’t fall into the wrong hands is clearly a paramount public safety objective.
In 2013, a local police sergeant resigned after numerous seized firearms were found to have been diverted out of police custody and into his private collection. See http://www.couriermail.com.au/news/queensland/ravenshoe-police-sergeant-resigns-after-discovery-of-surrendered-guns-in-his-private-collection/news-story/34f3fc2e7452dbabb37fa4cf98e4bd6f
Police sources in 1996 confirmed to journalists that the AR15 used in the Port Arthur massacre was originally surrendered at Bayswater police station in Victoria during an amnesty before being diverted to private ownership (Sunday Mail, 9 November 1996). Deputy Commissioner Graham Sinclair then confirmed that many AR15s had been onsold by Victoria Police to a firearms dealer who then sold them to private customers within Australia (Sunday Mail, 16 November 1996).
There is a track record of difficulties with Police management of surrendered firearms. What steps are the FAP team taking to ensure firearms surrendered to police are appropriately tracked and managed? Given when happened with the Ravenshoe police sergeant diverting firearms as recently as 2013, how will the public know surrendered firearms aren’t going out the back door?