Police gun grabs: a former Met detective advises…

by Deborah Hadfield and Charlie Jacoby 

Former Metropolitan police detective Ian Jensen says police have limited legal rights to take a gun. He says: “The police don’t have a legal right in general to enter your home, certain rules have to apply. They can enter to protect life and limb. They can enter to arrest you for an arrestable offence. They can enter to execute a search warrant or to secure evidence.

“If you have a licence to have a certain gun and that gun is on the licence, until that licence is revoked there is no reason you shouldn’t have it and that is your property and it belongs to you.”

The former police officer advises people to be aware of their rights if armed officers arrive at their door. He says: “We don’t have to let the police into our homes. If they turn up and say your firearms licence has been revoked and here is the proof, or they turn up with a search warrant saying I have a search warrant and have the ability to seize your guns as evidence then you don’t have to let the police in and you don’t have to give up your guns.

“Once you have given up your guns voluntarily and they’ve got them it’s really hard to get them back because they don’t want you to have them.”

Mr Jensen says shooters are a very law-abiding group. He says: “Everybody has to abide by the law if you want to have a shotgun or a rifle. We’re easy prey for the police to clamp down on. It looks like they’re doing something, and it looks like the country is safer.”

He doesn’t believe that the general public are sympathetic to shooters who have their guns seized. He says: “There’s always a question: do you need them? should you have them? and it’s not a right written into our laws.”

A freedom of information request by the media revealed only 164 licences that had been revoked were returned by police between 2019 and 2021.

Most Devon, Dorset and Cornwall shooters who have had their guns seized are appealing. It takes time and money. Ian says If you own a gun, knowing your rights is now essential. He says: “If people are contacted by the police saying we want your guns then ask the reasons. Ask ‘Is my licence being revoked?, Why?, What’s changed between now and when the licence was issued?’.

“Don’t forget you are on the P&C as a firearms or shotgun licence holder, so they have access to that as well.”

Mr Jensen advises communicating with the police via email so there is a record. He says even if armed officers come to your door it’s possible to protect yourself. He says, “You can always record them yourself, you can always record the visit on your phone.”

He believes that having a record of any incidents or contact with the police can help protect shooters, especially if their guns are taken and they need to appeal.

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