MEMBERS of the public had opportunity to sign an anti-gun declaration' board this week, displayed in Twickenham's Civic Centre.

It is a pledge to support the Metropolitan Police's campaign against gun crime, sending a clear message that its elimination is a high priority for London's residents, businesses and crime-fighting agencies.

Among the first people to sign the board in Twickenham last Friday were the Mayor of Richmond upon Thames, Cllr Nicola Urquhart; Council Leader, Cllr Tony Arbour; Richmond Police Borough Commander, Chief Supt Richard Gargini; and the Bishop of Kensington, the Right Rev Michael Colclough.

Cllr Arbour summed up the general feeling: "Although Richmond upon Thames is a low-crime borough, with crime involving firearms almost non-existent, we totally support the work of the police, Operation Trident officers and all other agencies involved in the battle to eradicate gun crime in the capital.

"Under the council's civic pride' programme, safe streets are a key priority. And the message must go out loud and clear that criminals who use guns will be caught and face the toughest penalties."

The pledge board, visiting London town halls throughout March and April, will be displayed at the 2004 Gun Crime conference to be held by the Met later this year.