The Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) and the Countryside Alliance have agreed a joint letter to all firearms licence holders clarifying the recent ACPO firearms security campaign as a result of concerns raised by thousands of Countryside Alliance supporters and licence holders.
The ACPO campaign was launched on 13 October announcing spot checks on licensees and urging the public to use a dedicated Crimestoppers line to report signs of “radicalism, extremism and vulnerability to terrorism” among gun owners.
The Alliance was concerned that the move went beyond the scope of changes to Home Office guidance which had been agreed by shooting organisations and therefore encouraged our members and supporters to lobby their MPs for clarification.
Following a meeting between the Alliance, the Home Office and ACPO in Downing Street on 24 October a new approach was agreed.
Countryside Alliance executive chairman Barney White-Spunner said: “We had a helpful and constructive meeting in Downing Street to discuss the ACPO Firearms initiatives and their proposed Crimestoppers campaign.
“It was acknowledged that there are various issues that need to be addressed and the Countryside Alliance and ACPO agreed that we would work closely together to resolve them.
“Chief Constable Andy Marsh [the ACPO lead on gun licensing] and I have subsequently agreed a letter to all firearms licence holders which informs them that there will no longer be a specific firearms licensing Crimestoppers hotline number; that presently there is little evidence of legal firearms users being involved in terrorism or criminal activity; and that all the home visits to check firearms security will be largely intelligence led.
“We are very pleased that ACPO and the Government have listened to the thousands of licence holders who have lobbied their MPs and have taken action to address their concerns. The Alliance will continue to work together with ACPO on the firearms security campaign of intelligence led security checks and utilising the main Crimestoppers hotline.”
For more information, contact Countryside Alliance head of media Charlotte Cooper on 0207 8409220 and 07500 834163 or email [email protected]
Note for journalists
• 497 of the 650 UK MPs were directly approached by constituents as a result of the Alliance campaign