by Countryside Alliance

Barrels_EmmaRichardson2A campaign announced today by the Association of Chief Police Officers' (ACPO) asking people to report signs of radicalisation, extremism and vulnerability to terrorism among firearms licence holders has been described as "unjustified and ill-judged" by the Countryside Alliance. ACPO has also asked police forces to carry out random unannounced security checks on gun owners. 

There are more than two million shotguns and firearms held under licence in the UK of which just 415 were lost or stolen in 2013, a figure that ACPO itself admits is "tiny fraction of the number of lawfully held guns". The number of lost and stolen guns is also falling.

Countryside Alliance director of campaigns Tim Bonner said: "We are always ready to support sensible, evidence-based proposals to improve firearm licensing and security. For instance we fully support unannounced checks on licence holders if they are based on specific intelligence of risk.

"This campaign, however, is exactly the sort of knee-jerk reaction to an unrelated problem that the Government had promised to avoid. It is unjustified and ill-judged, and will serve only to waste police resources and alienate a large and law abiding section of the community.

"The public appeal for information about certificate holders through Crimestoppers will encourage malicious complaints and the link made with radicalisation and terrorism is insulting and ridiculous. We have not been made aware of a single recent incident in which a licence holder has misused a firearm in pursuit of an extremist agenda.”

For more information, contact Countryside Alliance head of media Charlotte Cooper on 0207 8409220 and 07500 834163 or email charlotte-cooper@countryside-alliance.org

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