Would you know the difference?
That’s the challenge members of the public and police are facing daily, having to make a split second decision whether to take aim or ask the question.
This is a BB gun which officers seized from a 14-year-old boy in Portchester yesterday 20 August.
Fareham Police have said;
“To those without experience handling firearms, this could appear to be a real weapon at a glance.
In these circumstances, they are what’s known as an ‘imitation firearm’, and it is illegal to possess one in public. An imitation firearm is defined as ‘anything, which has the appearance of being a firearm whether or not it is capable of discharging any shot, bullet, or other missile’.
Some may question why they are illegal to carry in public. Firstly, they can still cause injury!
Secondly, the appearance alone is enough to spark fear, and it is not uncommon for police to receive calls about someone wielding a gun, when in fact it is an imitation. It can often be very difficult to ascertain right away what is real and what is an imitation.
All calls to police involving firearms will be treated as if it is a genuine firearm.
Officers will be deployed, which takes up our time and resource, and you could find yourself face to face with our armed officers if you start waving around what you think is just a toy!
Depending on the severity of the circumstances, possession of one of these items could even result in a prison sentence.
Our message is quite simple – don’t play with one of these. They are not toys. “