I have recently had a letter from South Yorkshire police asking me to list all the guns I own. I thought they already had this information so do I need to repeat it?

Normally I would advise ignoring requests of this sort but in this case South Yorkshire have a good reason and I suggest you fill the form in, especially as they’ve sent an sae. If you don’t you’re likely to get a visit from a Firearms Enquiry Officer.

Ideally you should check the numbers on the guns rather than copying them from the certificate. Apparently a member of staff (no longer employed) had been making substantial errors in recording information in the firearms database and the licensing department can no longer be sure if it is accurate. In consequence, the police are carrying out an audit to ensure the data held is up-to-date. It would have helped had they explained this in the first place.

You are not the only reader to raise the issue and members of both BASC and the National Gamekeepers Organisation have also expressed concern.

The moral is that the police would do better by being more open and transparent in what they are doing.