Firearms owners are being encouraged to question Police and Crime Commissioner candidates about their stance on shooting ahead of the elections next week.

BASC is giving firearms owners the opportunity to find out what candidates in the upcoming Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) elections think about shooting.

The elections are taking place on Thursday, 5 May and candidates are voted in by the public at polling stations. As BASC explains: “These elections are of great importance to those who shoot because firearms licensing comes within the responsibilities of a PCC.”

BASC has set up a new website (www.basc.org.uk/pcc) to help those with an interest in shooting to identify the candidates for their area and email them to seek their views on shooting and conservation.

Once someone receives a response they can forward it on to BASC who will make the candidates’ stance available for the public to see.

Finding out how the candidates feel about shooting will give shooters the chance to vote for someone with their best interests at heart.

Christopher Graffius, BASC’s director of communications, said “On 5 May 2016, elections will take place in all 41 police force areas in England and Wales, excluding London. Police and Crime Commissioners are charged with securing efficient and effective policing in their area and this includes firearms licensing. This new website provides BASC members with an opportunity to find out where their candidates stand on shooting before they cast their vote.”

Police and crime commissioner charged with firearms licensing

This is only the second time there have been PCC elections, following their introduction in 2012. Those 41 officers chosen at the time shared considerable power, becoming responsible for a combined budget of £8billion. Their responsibilities include hiring and, if necessary, firing, a Chief Constable, setting the budget and deciding the police and crime objectives for their particular areas.

The Countryside Alliance (CA) has urged prospective candidates to recognise the importance of tackling crime and increasing police visibility in rural areas. Sarah Lee, head of policy for the organisation, commented: “PCCs are the voice of the people and hold the police to account, but they also have the difficult task of managing tight budgets to effectively tackle both rural and urban crime in their area.

“Local policing for local people is great in theory, but it must translate into effective policing fit for local areas, and ensure that rural policing does not fall through the cracks. The Countryside Alliance supports a balanced approach to fighting crime and that should be reflected in policing plans across the country, with a fair focus on rural issues.”

The organisation has further called upon PCCs to ensure that there is fair funding for rural policing, better use of intelligence, improved use of modern surveillance and IT technology, better targeting of police resources and to introduce parish police officers in remote rural areas.