In a statement not to dissimilar to that issued in the 1930's by another police state, the Association of Chief Police Officers, are at it again. This time they are asking family, friends, neighbours, or for that matter anyone who feels like it, to report to their local police, anyone who is storing any firearm irresponsibly. The guidelines, for it is not law, as issued by ACPO and the Home Office is as follows: "Where it is judged necessary, based on specific intelligence in light of a particular threat, or risk of harm, the police may undertake an unannounced home visit to check the security of a certificate holder's firearms and shotguns. It is not expected that the police will undertake an unannounced home visit at an unsocial hour unless there is a justified and specific requirement to do so on the grounds of crime prevention or public safety concerns and the police judge that this action is both justified and proportionate.
It is recognised that there is no new power of entry for police or police staff when conducting home visits. To mitigate any misunderstanding on the part of the certificate holder the police must provide a clear and reasoned explanation to the certificate holder at the time of the visit."
As our friends at the countryside Alliance point out, and there is no-one that I am aware of, that disagrees with keeping your guns safely and securely stored when not in use, and that you make sure your security is adequate. But as with "Guidelines" of this nature it is open to malicious abuse; from a neighbour who maybe an animal rights activist, someone who doesn't agree with you parking your car where you do, the list is endless. And you, as a law abiding member of society will hear the thump, thump on the door demanding to see your security, because the police are acting upon information received. They will not be at all concerned that the information was given anonymously, and if a name is given, it's doubtful if they will go to the trouble of verifying the source. The information need not be that specific either for example; "I saw a woman, in a house, with a gun, in Acacia Avenue." That's it, as they have your details on their computer, they know all the holders in Acacia Avenue, likely as not she's the only one. All the information required has been received to make an unannounced visit to the holder. Of course this statement may be true, the individual could have seen what they said they saw, but the holder could have been getting ready to go hunting or the clay range, they may have already been, and were cleaning their gun before locking it away. I live in a small house, with widows in every room, and providing I'm not breaking the law of the land I may do pretty much as I wish within those confines, this includes cleaning and servicing my guns or dry firing them, to practice with one of the many laser systems available. All within the privacy of my own home.
The police have a difficult enough job to do as it is, so why do ACPO feel the need to pursue those in society that are the most law abiding, most responsible, and the arguably the best allies they have when it comes to fighting crime. My guess is career police chiefs with political ambitions, from within large towns and cities, who see all firearms ownership as something that must be stopped at all cost.
A Crimestoppers line has been opened to enable members of the public to report concerns about certificate holders and firearms security. The Countryside Alliance is strongly opposed to this, and has contested it vigorously. If you believe that any action taken by the police may be as a result of false or malicious information they may have received from a member of the public, then you should tell the Countryside Alliance or B.A.S.C.immediately, because you are a member of either, aren't you?