14 March 2016 – An article in a Scottish newspaper over the weekend has raised fears that Chief Constable Andy Marsh’s twice-failed ‘shop a gun owner’ hotline will return from the dead yet again later this year.
According to a hostile feature in the Herald Scotland newspaper, published on Saturday, the Crimestoppers hotline – which police were forced to drop last year after a public outcry – is set to return later this year.
UK Shooting News understands, from statements made by Crimestoppers to concerned members of the shooting community, that the line will be funded by police but staffed and administered by Crimestoppers call handlers.
Roger Critchell, Crimestoppers’ director of operators, is said to have met police last week about launching the new anti-shooting hotline. The charity claims it has “involved the shooting community in the discussions”.
In addition, from April markers will be placed on shooters’ NHS records, which will be readable by anyone with access to your NHS GP’s IT systems – including casual and temporary staff.
The hotline is the personal project of Chief Constable Andy Marsh, now of Avon and Somerset Police. Marsh is the head of the National Police Chiefs Council’s Firearms and Explosives Licensing Working Group (NPCC FELWG).
The NPCC is the successor to ACPO, the Association of Chief Police Officers. ACPO was shut down on the orders of the Home Secretary after public fears boiled over about the secretive profit-making company’s influence on how laws are enforced. Police simply renamed ACPO as the NPCC and carried on with few or no changes.
In its last incarnation the hotline was launched without any notification to the licensed firearms community, or attempt to engage with or consult us about its impact.It was withdrawn shortly afterwards following a volcanic reaction from shooters and their associations.
This marks the third time that Marsh has tried to introduce the hotline. UK Shooting News believes that Marsh unwisely made a personal promise to a murder victim’s relative, and so he is now trapped into trying to foist this on the licensed firearms community for the rest of his political career.