Submission from the Police Superintendents'
Assocation, Hampshire Branch
I have sought views from Forces within the District
and from Divisions within Hampshire. I have had a very limited
response but nevertheless hope the summary below is of use.
Nearly every response raised the control of
air weapons as ripe for consideration. Nuisance calls involving
the mis-use by children is the most common cause for complaint
although there is also a small number of incidents where air weapons
have been used by juveniles to cause injury. Given the potential
for an armed response to a reported incident, the ramifications
of misbehaviour with an air weapon should not be played down.
It usually transpires that the weapon is being carried in a public
place for no real reason.
The suggested remedies are:
to raise the age at which air weapons
can be possessed unsupervised. (Licensing is seen as too bureaucratic
to ensure that all air weapons are
in a properly secured cover when in a public place.
It is suggested that shotgun licensing should
be the same as for section 1 firearms and that "good reason"
should be given for possession.
The possession of imitation firearms is of increasing
concern as is the ease with which de-activated firearms can be
re-activated. (Of course, air weapons which look like the real
thing are a problem in this category). Making it an offence to
carry an uncovered imitation firearm in a public place without
just cause is suggested as a remedy.
Whilst the change in the law on handguns has
reduced the number, it does not appear to have been difficult
for criminals to get hold of them whenever they want.
It is suggested that a consolidating Act be
passed which will give the opportunity to eliminate anomalies
that exist and make the process of licensing less bureaucratic.
Superintendent G J Stogdon
4 October 1999