“We are in a situation not of our making,” said Chf Supt Odell
I beg to differ ....
Bungling police staff at South Yorkshire Police have finally copped to a huge snafu in their firearms database after spending the last two months writing to thousands of firearms licence holders. The letter simply requested they "update their details". Bosses have blamed the database snafu on the actions of a sacked …
...Going 100 rounds over that allocation is comparable to stopping in a yellow box zone at a junction; yes, it’s illegal, but the harm is negligible....
You appear to be living in the 1950s, when a policeman on the ground was actually interested in maintaining law and order in his local area, and might interpret the law according to an outdated set of standards derived from the Empire, of upright dealing and fair play.
Dixon died in the 1970s. Now we are ruled by a bureaucratic set of thought police, whose primary aims are, in order:
1 - avoiding doing any real work
2 - covering up any mistakes they make, up to and including causing deaths
3 - arresting innocent people when the press pressure them to do so
4 - vindictively attacking anyone who exposes any of this....
Funny they did not throw the book at her. She is after all a)A woman, b)Not able to give the Masonic high five and c)They are the South Yorkshire Police.
But you'd trust them with being able to get a complete dump of all your phone, text, IM and email traffic, right?
Well you'd better, cause they want it.
If for any reason the police show an interest in my car, within a very short time over the radio they can find out my name, address, if the car has insurance and if it has an MoT certificate. Perhaps the development of that computer system didn't involve any police authority imput.
So after making people jump through hoops to comply with the law there are the enforcers who cant be bothered to update their information. One of my shooting friends (years ago) had an issue when police pulled him over routinely only to panic and have no idea what to do. Apparently they didnt know it was ok for him to have his legally owned guns in the car as he was travelling back from the range.
The figures are quite interesting. It surged in the years following the ban, but then did decrease again a bit. There was a quite thorough academic study which concluded that the ban and its enforcement have had absolutely no effect on rates of gun crime -- debunking the claims of the supporters of the ban but also of people (like me, I admit) who thought the ban had increased gun crime rates.
"When you think about it, gun crime has risen dramatically in the years since Dunblane."
At a push you claim that the initial enforcement made a spike in the overall crime stats (as a new crime had been invented) but there was no increase in violent crime involving firearms.
Oh, come on. The stats are easy enough to look up. It took about ten years for the gun crime rate to drop back down to pre-Dunblane levels.
Criminologists who know a lot more about these things than I do have ascribed the increase to other unrelated factors, but no-one with a clue claims it never happened.
Re @squander two
The stats are easy to look up and they show no spike in violent crime involving firearms between the 1996 Dunblane murders and ten years later. This is true in both the Home Office figures and the British Crime Survey stats.
It is a myth largely concocted (although not entirely) by US opponents of gun control law and then repeated at semi random individuals.
The Firearms (Amendment) Act 1997 (and the No 2 act Labour introduced) made possession of lots of types of weapon illegal. This did lead to rise in the number of people arrested for possession of an illegal firearm (obviously....) but not the claimed rise in shootings.
Interestingly, most research shows violent crime with or without weapons peaked in 1995 then declined steadily (except for a minor upturn in 2006).
If we just look at homicide there is a steady increase from 1993 to 2001 then it hovers before coming down to current levels.
There are lots and lots of criminologists who say there was no spike because of the 1997 Amendment Act. Few say there was one and even less can see any evidence of it.
The stats I've seen suggest there WAS a not insignificant rise in crime involving firearms post the 1997 act - but it's spurious to suggest there was any connection whatsoever.
Handgun owners were extremely law-abiding individuals and compliance with the confiscation was virtually 100%
What happened was that criminals did what criminals always do; they did illegal things with illegal black-market guns. They just did it *more* - for reasons entirely unrelated to Dunblane or the 1997 act.
Americans do sometimes cite this in gun control debates but they often get it wrong; they think there was cause and effect when there was NOT. They don't appreciate that there was no history in living memory of using handguns in self-defence in the UK.
(As for the 1997 act, prime example of an appalling knee-jerk emotion-led piece of legislation; how in hell does it serve anyone to make the bloody Olympic shooting team train overseas?! Disgraceful)
Mike - ex-Brit, now American, gun owner :-)
"The stats are easy to look up and they show no spike in violent crime involving firearms between the 1996 Dunblane murders and ten years later. This is true in both the Home Office figures and the British Crime Survey stats."
Not really, HO figures (www.parliament.uk/briefing-papers/sn01940.pdf) show that:
1997/98 - 12805 notifiable firearms offences, including 696 "serious" offences
2004/05 - 24094 notifiable firearms offences, including 1350 "serious" offences
after which firearms offences started dropping, finally getting to sub-1997 rates in 2010/11. It is notable that Operation Trafalgar was expanded into Trident around 2004-05, but there was no firearms legislation of any note, and with the bulk of UK firearms crime taking place in London, the West Midlands and Greater Manchester, it's no surprise that downturns in these types of crime tend to show up 12-18 months after the implementation of various initiatives in those Police areas which have done more to address firearms crime than layering additional paperwork on farmers and sport shooters and putting gunsmiths out of business.
So no, the ban did not "cause" gun crime (I honestly don't understand how people ever came to that conclusion), but it did precisely nothing to stop it or address the rise in firearms crime. It is also notable that in the period above (1997-2005), crime involving handguns specifically rose from 2636/yr to 5144 before tailing off in 2005 and falling to 3105 for 2011, which shows how much impact the law had on removing handguns form the black market.
Both firearms offences and violence went up after Dunblane. The laws did nothing. What worked was the Police actually enforcing the laws, rather than politicians throwing legislation at the problem and making illegal things more illegal.
Your theory that the creation of a new crime got lots of people arrested for possession of illegal firearms is woefully misguided. Pretty much everyone handed their guns in and took their compensation money (or shipped the guns abroad). There were no hold outs. Why? Because we have licensing - i.e. the Police had a list of everyone who had a licensed pistol, so if you didn't surrender it they could come around and take it when the hand-in period ended.
It's the reason why the pistol ban worked but an airgun ban wouldn't - because the Police have no idea who owns the estimated 10million air guns that are swilling around the UK (bar a handful that have been legally overpowered for niche hunting requirements and therefore licensed). Short of going house-to-house for every UK residence, a hand-in would rely on the owners to be honest enough to hand them in, which means the people doing the handing in are precisely the responsible and law-abiding types that you don't mind owning guns in the first place.
British crime survey on violent crime (as that is what the topic is about, not incidents like possession of a firearm, which is included as a notifiable offence) available at: http://www.ons.gov.uk/ons/rel/crime-stats/crime-statistics/period-ending-december-2012/stb-crime-in-england-and-wales--year-ending-december-2012.html#tab-Violence shows over 4500 offences in 1995 dropping to about 3500 offences in 1997 then down to about 3400 by 1999.
Using the HO Briefing paper linked to, Chart 1 shows approximately 15000 offences involving a firearm in 1996 dropping to about 13000 in 1997, with a slight increase to 14000 in 1998 then a steady rise until 2003.
From that source there were more offences in 1992 / 1993 than in 1997/1998.
I am still at loss as to how this shows that the Firearms (Amendment) Acts 1 & 2 of 1997 led to a significant increase in (implied violent) gun crime.
One massive increase in "firearms incidents" consisted of classifying a £1 BB gun bought off the market as a "Realistic Imitation Firearm" if it's not made with 50% of the body in florescent green under the Violent Crime Reduction Act.
As I recall, ACPO admitted during the Cullen Enquiry (post Dunblane) that less than 1% of firearms crime was committed with firearms that had EVER been registered (an important distinction as that includes stolen guns that are then used in the commission of further crimes, not just legally held guns wielded by their owners).
As a shooter, I believe firearms control has a place - there should be a sensible effort to obstruct access to firearms by criminals or nutters. However, given the prevalence of black market guns, making life excessively complex for legal owners is pointless - once you implement a few common sense licensing rules you get in to rapidly diminishing returns which means at that stage you're better off putting your efforts and budget into guns & gangs (Trident-like projects) and dealing with illegal guns that have never been legal nor so much as touched the white market rather than layering on more paperwork for legal users.
It's no surprise that the rates of gun crime in the UK bear no resemblance to the introduction of firearms legislation (gun crime soared between 1007 and 2004 despite banning handguns). What's more notable is that Trafalgar and Trident really started making inroads around 2004-05 when they got tough on the actual problem of black market guns being smuggled in to the country or just illicitly made here (anyone with a lathe in their shed could make a gun if they wanted to).
We're too strict, 'Merika is too lax. Isle of Man have a pretty good balance.
Well, that's an interesting new bit of spin. "Our employee screwed up, but then we sacked her, so the fact that she's not part of our organisation now means the screw-up was nothing to do with our organisation back when she still worked for us."
I expect this will catch on.
"Well, that's an interesting new bit of spin. "Our employee screwed up, but then we sacked her, so the fact that she's not part of our organisation now means the screw-up was nothing to do with our organisation back when she still worked for us.""
Indeed. The cutting edge of
blame avoidance of management technology.
"They could have sacked the officers responsible "
Why? The armed thugs still don't think they did anything wrong. Hence the police investigations into journalists asking awkward questions about the de Menezes murder, the "non-inquest" that wouldn't consider a verdict of "unlawfully killed", the undisclosed payoff by the filth to the de Menezes family,
Given the parlous state of the Met revealed by Leveson, and by the whole long, sad Stephen Lawrence saga, why would we expect anything else?
I know of several folks who have "unauthorized" firearms in Yorkshire ... Nearly all hand-me-downs from Dad/Grandad. Given that I'm a Californian and hardly know even a small percentage of Yorkshiremen, there is quite probably a sizable population of un-announced gun owners in Yorkshire.
And get this ... The only crime they are committing is not telling Plod they have Grandpa's Beretta!
Creating a new class of non-violent criminal doesn't get rid of violent crime. All it does is tie up the police chasing ghosts, and sells more tabloids ... Oh. Wait.
Previously IE for the 10 years after Dunblaine if you were refused a gun license by one force you could apply to others around you and they could not check if you had done so and might give it to you.
I think you could have got multiple licenses to hold different weapons as well.
IOW the usual games you can play with multiple paper databases held by different organisations.
It's a good idea. Should it have taken Dunblaine and 10 years to get it. No. Did the UK need even stricter gun control laws. No. Let's say I smell something funny about the local cops involvement with Thomas Hamilton. Predatory paedophile wakes up one morning and decides to attack a primary school. No one putting him under pressure, he just does.
I often wonder what would happen if the Cullen report was made public now. Sadly it's too obscure for Anonymous and the like to bother ferretting it out.
I strongly suspect the public outcry would lead to some very reluctantly brought criminal charges.
Was thinking more of the background report into Thomas Hamilton which was suppressed, allegedly because it might incriminate various plods and politicians.
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/1421898/Dunblane-100-year-ban-on-report-may-be-lifted.html refers. Obviously not the actual Cullen report - I'd forgotten that was quietly released to the public.
"I often wonder what would happen if the Cullen report was made public now. Sadly it's too obscure for Anonymous and the like to bother ferretting it out."
I smell a very large cowpat indeed under this skin.
I maybe being paranoid but my instinct is Hamilton was known quite well to the McPlod in the area and you can imagine them seething at their inability to actually arrest him on anything substantial .
I agree, gun licensing, national database of gun ownership, real checks before letting someone own a gun, these are very good things...BUT banning handguns, that does nothing...
As long as anyone with a weapon has had a proper psychological evaluation, then there is no real risk to the public.. I would even go so far as to say that anyone who wants to own a firearm should complete a mandatory training course and pass to prove they are safe...
My distrust of the police, both as dodgy individuals and as an incompetent organisation, makes me think giving them details of where every legal firearm in the UK is is asking for trouble. I see in the news only yesterday a house near me in Essex was burgled and its gun safe stolen. The less people who know you have guns in the house, the better.
The same goes for owning certain valuables, eg gold.
Around the time that I got my FAC there was a comment from some cop that they don't use psych evaluations 'cos they're useless* for predicting how dangerous someone might be in the future. They do ask your chums (you have to have 2 character references for you application and 5-yearly renewal) if your relationship with your spouse is on the rocks as shooting your wife seems to be the most common misuse of legal firearms.
*so the cops believed
Personally, I have previous for being a depressed teenager (as in actually getting sent to a therapist on the NHS) but I was ok by the time I got a FAC so they only really look into your present mental health. Considering that my FAC is for a Brocock air pistol (the ones they banned 'cos you can convert them to fire live ammo if you don't mind a fair to middling chance of losing some fingers) they seemed unconcerned by the outside chance of me beating myself to death with it.
Mandatory firearms safety courses sounds like a good idea. The process for joining a shooting club (and getting a FAC by that route) is quite onerous so I guess they trust that all the training is taken care of by the club.
I think banning handguns (it's actually the 12/24 rule; no barrels of less than 12" and the whole gun, in a condition where it can be fired, must be more than 24") was driven by the rozzers. Nowadays, if they see someone with a pistol they don't have to worry about whether it's a legal one or not, they can just open fire.
What's to ask? She was a back office admin in the firearms licensing department charged with updating the NFLMS with information sent in by FAC and SGC holders. She either didn't update them at all or only partially entered new info. Her primary role involved sustained periods of data entry, and she was (presumably) vetted and cleared for this level of access. Not seeing your point here?
Bearing in mind firearms licensing is not a priority for any UK force - Lincs actually outsourced it to G4S, of all people.
My point is that there was (and I will stake a tenner I could use the word "is") no effective oversight. Who was managing her ? How was her performance being monitored ?
Having employees with the degree of autonomy required to cause this clusterfuck is acceptable (and probably inevitable) in small man+dog outfits. But in a public service ?
So, my question stands. What *other* unsupervised employees are there in Yorkshire police ?
In the 60s/70s it used to be that if you wanted world class corrupt, thuggish, incompetent police you had to go to London.
But since the miners strike, Hillsborough and so on there has been a real renaissance in the quality of northern gestapo and now - except in the matter of talking to journalists - S Yorks police can hold their head up with the best of S America's finest. It makes you proud to be from Sheffield.
(as soon as they find somebody else who can read and discover that the newspapers aren't just for wrapping chips - they will start leaking to journalists.)
"But since the miners strike, Hillsborough and so on there has been a real renaissance in the quality of northern gestapo and now - except in the matter of talking to journalists - S Yorks police can hold their head up with the best of S America's finest. It makes you proud to be from Sheffield."
They not the originators of the legendary gag that goes.
Cop. If someone kicked in your front door, beat up your kids and raped your wife who you gonna call?
Miner. Not the S. Yorks police for sure, they're already round my house.
Seriously. It is well known that important transactions need to go through more than one person so corruption requires the complicity of more than one person. One disgruntled employee? Very possible. Two? Much harder.
How hard would it have been to have the form/transactions tee-ed off to a second senior plod rather than a DBA?
So many simple precautions could have made this a nuisance rather than a data loss.
My coat is the one with the Glock.
Damned right there, one would have thought it would require verification of the data being enterd correctly before the licence was issued; where are the data used to print the licences comming from anyway???
Also begs the question of what their disaster management system is like, and their off site data back-up retention policy. Non-existant by the sound of it. Hey ho.
Glocks are OK but I don't like the 'always double action' trigger pull. Mines a H&K P7 thanks. True smaller mag count but hey they sure shot straight so no need of "spray and pray".
"In a world of compromise some men don't" - Heckler and Koch moto.
Why the fanboi? Because my new 27" iMac, like H&K P7, is bloody brilliant.
I was wondering this. When someone sells a firearm, both the buyer AND seller inform the firearms licensing office. This is a throwback to the old days when if one was selling to or buying from someone from another county, then both licensing offices needed to know of the acquisition/disposal for their paper records. One would have thought since October last year at least one person would have done a transaction with someone outside the Yorkshire system and the NATIONAL system would have flagged when only one notification was logged. But then maybe it flags to the staffer who was supposed to log the Yorkshire end of the transaction anyway, and she ignored it just like she did with the notifications...
Or maybe there are no flags in their effort to just get it out - they stuffed National on the front because FLMS earned it the moniker "Flimsy" after they repeatedly missed go-live dates...
Surely this would only be a temporary loss of data, something so vitally important as keeping track of weapons would have multiple secure backups, so all they have to do is a simple "restore" operation.
....maybe somebody lost the only thumb-drive with the backup file.
Quite shocked to hear that just part of one county has 9000 weapons listed....just how many are there across the whole country (including Scotland) ?
"Quite shocked to hear that just part of one county has 9000 weapons listed....just how many are there across the whole country (including Scotland) ?"
Probably a lot. It is a good sport and has real world practical applications for a lot of people. They are used in the workplace as well as being a good hobby. It does get a bad rep in this country but mostly from the 'civilised' people and places where all they do is kill each other. When you say gun in a city centre people seem to jump to the conclusion of shooting each other. Yet everywhere else it is everything from a hobby to a necessity.
"Quite shocked to hear that just part of one county has 9000 weapons listed....just how many are there across the whole country (including Scotland) ?"
Well there are half a million Shotgun Certificates in force across England, Scotland and Wales, and something like 200,000 Firearm Certificates.
Account for the fact that many have more than one firearm/shotgun on them, and the fact that a club's ticket could have 5-25 firearms on it (multiple by 2000+ clubs in UK). Also don't forget Estate tickets for hunting lodges and you're looking at easily a couple of million shotguns and a million plus rifles.
Which as a number is dwarfed by the estimated 10million airguns in circulation in England and Wales alone (and the Police don't have a list of who owns those, unlike licensed firearms, although by the sounds of it South Yorks don't even know that).
Shooting is the second largest participation sport (including all aspects - target sports/hunting/game/pest control) in the UK after fishing. It's just our Olympic Shooters don't get Wayne Rooney sized pay cheques or media coverage, though young Peter Wilson has been trying to make a bit of name for himself following on from his Gold last year. UKSport estimate that somewhere in the region of 2 million people participate in shooting activities each year, whether that's training for the Olympics or having a go at air rifle at the CLA Game Fair.
Around here it is WORSE. Here, in Brazil, that is.
A friend of mine had a gun (9mm, standard issue semi-automatic pistol) the most simple thing you could possibly own. So here it goes: Brazil changed gun permits, now it could cost upward of $500 PER YEAR just for licensing a gun. Considering said pistol costs $200, errrr no, he decided to sell/get rid of it. So, he did, worked all the permits around with the disarmament program run BY THE MILITARY, as in, THE ARMY.
The snafu comes here: the POLICE had NO IDEA he already "sold" his gun TO THE FREAKING ARMY and was asking him to show the gun. He showed all the ARMY permits declaring he gave the gun away and the POLICE FORCE DIDN'T RECOGNIZE THE PAPERWORK. Long story short, he moved hell and heaven and finally proved to the POLICE that the ARMY had his gun.
You guys are lucky with database snafus. Here, even with pen and official stamping over army-labeled-coin-paper (the same kind of paper you would use on a passport, or money) it took him 8 months to convince the Police he sold the gun.
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