Andrew Alger: Devon & Cornwall gun grab case study

by Deborah Hadfield and Charlie Jacoby 

Devon & Cornwall Constabulary started revoking shooters’ certificates in August 2021. Back then, the situation was confused. A story in the Sunday Express reported that Devon & Cornwall was leading a charge to revoke ‘thousands’ of certificates across the UK following the Plymouth shootings. However, a later story in the Daily Telegraph says that the number of certificates revoked was just eight. A freedom- of information request by BASC reveals the number of certificate revocations in the last three months of 2021 is 54, nine times what it usually is.

The problem is, the people the police are choosing for revocation are well-liked members of their local communities with, collectively, centuries of blameless gun ownership behind them.

Andrew Alger had his certificate renewal go through without a hitch at the beginning of August 2021. It was no more than he expected. He has been a licensed shooter without a stain on his character these last 40 years.

In the middle of the month, the tragic Plymouth shootings took place, where a 22-year-old licensed shooter murdered five people and injured two others before fatally shooting himself.

At the end of the month, armed Devon & Cornwall police officers visited Andrew at his home in a Devon village, and removed his guns and certificate without explanation. They told him to contact Devon & Cornwall firearms licensing.

That’s what Andrew started doing, every week – sometimes twice a week – from August until December 2021. He met a wall of silence, occasional promises that an officer will call him back, and one email complaining of workload. He escalated the matter to the Devon & Cornwall’s police & crime commissioner Alison Hernandez. That elicited a promise from firearms licensing that someone really will call him back.

In late December, they did. But he has still had no clear indication of why police evoked his certificate. Due to pressure of cases, including appeals by shooters against unfair revocation of certificates, Andrew’s case will not now be heard in Plymouth Crown Court until October 2022.

Andrew is hoping for an apology and the restoration of his certificate. He looks after the deerstalking on 1,000 acres of land in Devon and he has been unable to meet his deer cull targets since August. The police action is now damaging the Devon countryside.

More of our Devon & Cornwall police gun grab coverage:​
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