Police seize illegal firearms as part of statewide blitz
Published Monday, 26 February, 2018 at 12:00 PM
Minister for Police and Minister for Corrective Services
The Honourable Mark Ryan
A statewide police operation aimed at seizing illegal firearms to prevent firearms-related offences has netted 869 weapons since it began on February 1.
Police Minister Mark Ryan and Commissioner Ian Stewart announced the results of the ongoing operation, Operation Quebec Camouflage, at the Central Exhibits Facility in West End.
Mr Ryan said police were harnessing the resources of regional and specialist police, Federal law enforcement and members of the firearm community as part of Operation Quebec Camouflage.
“This operation has already seen significant results thanks to the efforts of the police and public – and it is not even over yet,” he said.
“A large number of the 869 firearms recovered were found during proactive firearm audits conducted by police and as a result of information provided from our communities via Crime Stoppers.
“The public has been very supportive, with 101 (as at Feb 25) incidents of people contacting police with firearms to hand in, resulting in the surrender of 227 firearms.
“This could simply be a case of someone finding a firearm that had been sitting in a garden shed following the passing of a relative or a firearm located when a property has been purchased.
“Although gun theft is at its lowest in Queensland in four years, of Operation Quebec Camouflage shows police are not resting on their laurels.
“Both the Palaszczuk Government and the police are grateful to the public for taking the initiative and helping keep the community safe.
“I encourage anyone with information about the illegal possession of firearms to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000."
Commissioner Stewart said although Queensland has a very healthy firearm community, there is still a large proportion of firearms stolen from regional communities where insufficient firearm security is at least in part a contributing factor.
“This campaign is not about singling out anyone. It is, in part about reaffirming with firearm holders the importance of ensuring their firearms are secured and stored correctly,” he said.
Commissioner Stewart said 119 weapons had been located through 110 search warrants.
“It is very satisfying to have removed these firearms from the criminal environment and once again demonstrates the power of community in solving these crimes,” he said.
The Queensland Police Service also has a very strong working relationship with other policing jurisdictions, including the Australian Federal Police and Australian Border Force (ABF).
“We are constantly developing strategies, sharing intelligence and working collaboratively on operations targeting the importation of firearms and the illegal possession of firearms,” Commissioner Stewart said.
ABF Superintendent Matt Stock praised the collaborative approach taken by the different agencies.
“ABF contributed by executing a number of search warrants as a result of detections at the border of firearm parts and accessories. We also worked closely with QPS Detectives during operational activity and provided intelligence to assist in the outcomes,” Superintendent Stock said.
Commissioner Stewart said it was vital that the Queensland Police Service continued to develop its operational response to all criminal activity including illicit firearms.
“Whilst a significant body of work has been done to raise firearm awareness during the Firearms Amnesty, Handgun Buyback and social media and television advertising, over the last two years the Queensland Police Service has also broadened the scope of some of our specialist investigators,” he said.
“State Crime Command refocused the Drug Squads located in Townsville and Cairns by broadening their charter to focus on major and organised crime, including firearms. In addition, the 10 stock squad units located across the state were reformulated and now fall under the Major and Organised Crime Squad umbrella.
“State Crime Command’s Organised Crime Gangs Group (including Taskforce Maxima) has also expanded their role to include all gang related activities and the Gold Coast District commenced Operation Trench to specifically address firearms related matters.
“Our operational focus remains on ensuring the safety of Queenslanders and the reduction of illegal firearms in Queensland.”
Results from Operation Quebec Camouflage as of February 25:
- 869 firearms recovered
- 101 incidents of people contacting police about firearms to hand in, resulting in the surrender of 227 firearms
- 110 search warrants executed, resulting in the location of 119 weapons
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