A police spokesman explained: “While this may not remove the need for police to attend an incident to ascertain that the people seen with the guns are the people conducting lawful shooting, it may reduce the level of police response considered appropriate to investigate. The intention of this early notification is to remove or minimise the risk of a situation between (armed) police officers and legitimate shooters enjoying their hobby.”

The shooting community has dismissed the idea as unworkable.

A spokesman for the National Gamekeepers’ Organisation (NGO) said: “There have been occasional incidents when police armed response units have been scrambled following calls from the public, only for them to find a legitimate shooter. However, compared with the amount of legitimate shooting that goes on, illegal incidents are very rare. We do not think a case has been made for every legitimate shooting activity to be subject to voluntary reporting. The NGO was not consulted in advance of this launch and we wonder who else the force has spoken to. In the unlikely event of large numbers of Leicestershire shooters taking it up, the scheme could become a bureaucratic nightmare for the police – probably a much larger task than they currently recognise.”

BASC’s John Swift agreed. He said: “This is a half-baked idea that needs further consideration. The police are well-meaning, but this initiative is simply unworkable. What would happen if someone forgot to report to the police prior to going out shooting? Would that automatically result in marked cars pulling up to investigate? This could turn out to be very counterproductive. It might work in localised areas, but certainly not for whole counties.”

Let us know what you think about this!

  • Simon Mansell

    As I read this article its November 14th and I plagued by yet more fireworks, not in the day I might add but at night every night and in the middle of town. If the police want something to do, other than catch criminals then perhaps they could put a stop to these fireworks!


    As a shooting man of 60+ years I have experienced various situations in which a prior notification to the local constabulary would have dissipated a problem or situation.
    In the world in which we live today we must do our risk assessments as required and anticipate the actions of the biased and well meaning as one.

    As the permited shooting I have is now within view of residential premises and highway traffic, I usually shoot alone or with my son or a friend.

    During the last six years I have decided to contact my local police command centre to obtain a log No( this is diplayed on the car dash board), notify them of the start time, where I will be shooting, car reg No, dogs if any, No of people, quarry species and the tools to be used (guns), ending with the anticipated finnish time, When finished a call is made to notify the control centre to allow them to close the log No.
    This has allways been a pleasant and friendly interaction with the Yorkshire and Humberside Police however early in the morning, which takes no longer than five mins.

    Part of our risk assessment has to take into account most shooters have developed a hearing problem, if this is coupled with hearing protectors it would be difficult to hear ‘ Armed Police, drop your weapon ‘ and be able to respond to this without a surprised reaction, what would be the reaction from the armed response team?.

    My thoughts are, if we inform the police of our presence they are able to put the public at rest, in the process save the tax payers money, hopefully saving us from looking over our shoulders after every shot,
    This also brings in a part of a lone worker risk assessment, some one else knows where you are.

    Safe shooting

  • Michael Ross

    I have been involved in shooting sports for around 55 years. I think that this proposal is ludicrous and unworkable and should be resisted at all costs. Shooting is an entirely legitimate activity and the shooting community should not be coerced into agreeing to ill thought-out, half baked proposals that will inevitably come back to bite it on the backside! Apart from the granting of the relevant certificates, we as shooters do not need the permission of the police to participate in our lawful activities.

    Why has this suddenly become an apparent problem? I believe that there are two principal reasons. The first is the increase in crime where firearms have been used, but this has been largely confined to the major cities. The second is the demonising of those involved in shooting sports by the media with the implication that we are all potential psychopathic killers!

    I hope that BASC, The British Deer Society, The Countryside Alliance and others involved in shooting will act together and take vigorous steps to knock this proposal on the head.

  • Russell Middleton

    The explicit instruction that anyone with a gun, no matter the venue, requires police intervention is extremely offensive to lawful gun owners and shooters. But its not really surprising given the steady anti-gun/self-defence drum beat emanating from the Home Office throughout the Twentieth Century, the Media hysteria after Hungerford, and the frenzied witch-hunt after Dunblane. Now that we’ve been turned into a nation of supergrasses the police should have no excuse for missing the next Ryan or Hamilton. Except that the supergrass system which came to its zenith in the early 1970s in a series of high-profile mass trials was proven patently unreliable and discontinued in 1985.

  • K. Neal

    Once again some half baked and un thought out scheme to keep the pressure up on law abiding citizens going about there lawfull hobby, this is another chip at the thin end of the wedge..what next?

  • Iain Thomson

    I read Billy Field’s response to my earlier e-Mail and I think that we are talking along the same lines. Clay shoots and organised shoots have their dates and places fixed well in advance so notification is just another piece of time-wasting paperwork and form filling. The people with the problems are once again going to be the true country people ie gamekeepers, farmers, pigeon shooters, deerstalkers etc who cannot work to a fixed timetable or specific area. This has to be where the suggested scheme is unworkable and are the police going to recruit more staff to handle the information inputting accurately or otherwise. Wrong map co-ordinates etc being entered will guarantee an over response from the police when they are called out.

    Lovely theory but not practical.

  • John Hulme

    So, let me get this straight. If I was to inform the police that I was shooting, and by chance an incident occurred in that area that did require the armed response guys to turn out. Would that mean that there would be a delay in there responding, or would I be on the receiving end of there very unwelcome attention?
    Given the apparent lack of intelligence when it comes to dealing with these matters in recent years, I think this is of great concern to all of us.



  • clifford hillier

    Another silly ill-thought out proposal. What is needed is better education and common sense on the part of police operators.
    For example. At the weekend I stalked and shot a buck. The beast ran on and dropped in a field overlooked by a cottage. It turns out the place had been rented out as a holiday let.
    I could see and hear quite a commotion from the garden whilst I waited for 10minits or so to allow the other animals in the herd to move off. I thought Id better find out what all the fuss was about. So I stowed my weapon and walked up the lane. I approached a chap who was on his mobile phone to the police. I was quickly past the phone after identifying myself as the shooter. Hampshire police asked me if I had advised that I was going out. My answer was simply no. I identified myself and explained the beast was part of a cull. The chap explained that they had unbeknown to me been watching elements of the same group of deer and that his children had been quite upset. It was agreed that I best have a quick chat with the family. I was afforded the opportunity to explain the need, process, and law in regard to deer culling. By the end everyone was happy.
    It’s easy to see how police time would have been wasted had it not been for the common sense of the operator. With more urban people visiting the countryside it can only be these police operators who can make the judgment.

  • John Langford

    I shoot booth shotgun and air rifle on my small farm shoot, it depends what problems the farmer is having. As most people do not know the difference between any tye of gun I presume that this police force would next include Airgunners as well. I go out dependant on weather up to four or five times a week and so do some of my friends, our local police are almost impossible to contact at the best of times, and use a central call room.
    It would not be long before some smart poacher phoned the police to say he was going out with a gun in the hopes that if reported the police would not respond.
    My other thought is that if there is not a lot going on what is to stop the police just turning up to try and catch you out so that they can remove the guns from another legitimate shooter.
    There is always an hidden agenda.

  • Eddie C.

    In theory this seems like a good idea,but they don’t have enough coppers to carry out the work they already have.It seems to me like another nail in our coffin!

  • billy field

    I’m sorry Mr.Thomson but it’s not even a good idea. Imagine the scenario, a keeper is driving around the estate doing what ever. He has with him his rifle which he (or she) is carrying legally. He spots “charlie,” plodding along the edge of a wood. Does he say to “charlie,” “excuse me but do you mind just sitting there while i phone the Police to tell them i’m about to shoot you.” Not on your life. The next scenario could be a storyline in “Dog.” “Yes i’m sorry there appears to be alot of foxes on the estate boss but every time i phone the police they’re engaged.”
    I’m sorry but it’s just another case of policing the law abiding. Illegal firearms, real criminals, that’s what the police should be concentrating on, not people going about their lawful business!

  • Derek Watts

    If they restricted the request to sensetive areas close to airports schools or land prone to poaching and then to just register an interest there might be some argument that the request was sensible.Blanket requirement is rediculous and overstepping the powers given them and makes as much sense as phoning up every time you want to take your car out for a drive.

  • Iain Thomson

    The concept is good but it needs another database to collate all the information and disseminate to all police patrols. As a clay pigeon shooter with the regular 28 Saturdays a year shoot all calendared in advance it is not an onerous task. However for a lamper or rough shooter going out on a whim or a nice day or an emergency cull of foxes rats etc how much notice is going to have to be given to the police – hours, days or weeks to get it onto the database. Therein lies the clash between a great theory and practicality and one can forsee problems wherein an incorrect address or map reference is entered by a data entry clerk etc.

    Once again a good idea but needs some more detailed thought.

  • John Taylor

    The thought immediately comes to mind that even if the scheme was workable it gives the police an easy future access route to the imposition of certificate conditions and revocations should we forget to inform them.

  • billy field

    This in reality is totally unworkable. If every legitimate shooter in the u.k was to inform the police every time they used their firearms legally the police would never cope with that amount of information to be processed.Could you imagine having to cross check all that data. The Police would have to employ additional admin staff to cope, they would then say look what the shooting community is costing us.Who do you think they would then come to for additional funding? Look whats happened to the centralised data system proposed for firearms, administrative melt down. Unfortunately there are some senior Police officers who believe the only people who should carry firearms are Police officers.

  • Robin Rossiter

    Are the police implying that you should report to them every time you pop out for a quick blast? If that is the case my partner who shoots legitimately several times a week ( Rough, Pheasant, wildfowling etc) would spend more time on the phone to the police than he does to on the phone to me! It is an absurd idea and another ‘big brother’ rule which would use valuable resources infringing the freedom of honest people but will do nothing to prevent the criminal fraternity from continuing to go about their business. Surely it would be more cost effective to spend the time and money in other areas.