From 15th October police forces will be taking part in an initiative to ensure firearms are being kept and stored securely. New Home Office guidance allows the police to make unannounced visits to check on the security arrangements of certificate holders under certain circumstances although it should be noted that the police do not have any new powers of entry.
The new Home Office guidance to the police states:
“Where it is judged necessary, based on specific intelligence in light of a particular threat, or risk of harm, the police may undertake an unannounced home visit to check the security of a certificate holder’s firearms and shotguns. It is not expected that the police will undertake an unannounced home visit at an unsocial hour unless there is a justified and specific requirement to do so on the grounds of crime prevention or public safety concerns and the police judge that this action is both justified and proportionate.
It is recognised that there is no new power of entry for police or police staff when conducting home visits. To mitigate any misunderstanding on the part of the certificate holder the police must provide a clear and reasoned explanation to the certificate holder at the time of the visit.”