The shooting community has reacted with concern after Leicestershire Constabulary launched a controversial initiative on 28 April urging shooters voluntarily to notify the police of all shooting events in the area in a bid to stop police wrongly sending out officers to investigate public reports of
firearms use.

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, however. A spokesman for the National Gamekeepers’ Organisation (NGO) told Shooting Times: “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.”

The rest of this article appears in 30 April issue of Shooting Times.

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