The Association of Chief Police Officers has advised firearms owners that it may call on them unannounced.
As part of a campaign to reduce extremism and radicalisation, surprise visits are set to begin as soon as 15 October. BASC and ACPO have told shooters to make sure their security arrangements are up to scratch.
The police do not have any new powers of entry, and they must provide a clear and reasoned explanation behind every home visit.
ACPO said: “This is by no means a heavy-handed sting targeting licence holders and gun owners are being given a general warning that these visits are taking place. Where security measures are found to be inadequate further advice will be given, with heavier sanctions only being considered where there has been a dangerous disregard for safety. We have been working closely with BASC in the preparation of this campaign to ensure that the overall message of the activity is correct and appropriate, and should not be interpreted as unnecessary targeting of firearms owners.”
BASC reminded its members that they should be in no doubt as to why the visit was being made, but recommended a “sensible and cooperative approach” should a home visit occur.
Richard Ali, the chief executive of BASC, said: “BASC supports the police in their efforts to help firearms certificate holders maintain the excellent record of safety and security in England and Wales. Where there is specific intelligence of threat, risk or harm then the police should act. This guidance provides that framework and ensures that the police provide a clear and reasoned explanation to the certificate holder at the time of the visit.”