Police demand for BASC shooting information guide.

BASC has revealed that more than 40,000 shotgun, air rifle and lamping codes of practice have been distributed to police across the country since September, as forces seek to ensure that their officers are kept informed about the law on gun use.

?We have been promoting our codes of practice to the police for many years, but the level of response this time was around double of what we were expecting,? said BASC?s David Ilsley.

?The police are increasingly seeing the value of a code of practice ? if you have someone who is fully up to speed with the law of the countryside, they are less likely to commit an offence.?

Many forces give copies of the booklets to their officers.

?One of each of the codes we ordered will go out to every police officer and Police Community Support Officers,? Dave Coutts, from North Yorkshire Police told Shooting Times.

?We particularly draw their attention to poaching and the legislative side of what to do if they come across people when they?re out shooting. Undoubtedly, misunderstandings have occurred in the past and there are always occasions where things are not dealt with as well as they might be. It?s really about improving knowledge across the board, so that when we?re out and about interacting with sportsmen, we minimise the opportunities for things to be misinterpreted.?

?Overall, there?s a good understanding of country sports in North Yorkshire. We?re a small police force, but we?re a large firearms licensing department, so we have a vast number of people who participate in sport, week in and week out. There?s always opportunity to improve the situation and that?s what we?re looking to do.?

Other forces take a different approach.

?The joint BASC/ Association Of Chief Police Officers leaflet on airguns is kept on stands when we do county fairs throughout the year,? said Mick Fidgeon, firearms office manager at Essex Police.

?It is often picked up by people who visit our stand and, as it is a joint leaflet, it gives good, sensible, unbiased and lawful advice. I believe it is very worthwhile.?