back to article 30,000 London gun owners hit by Met Police 'data breach'

London gun owners are asking questions of the Metropolitan Police after the force seemingly handed the addresses of 30,000 firearm and shotgun owners to a direct mail marketing agency for a commercial firm's advertising campaign. The first any of the affected people knew about the blunder was when the leaflet (pictured below) …

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  1. Warm Braw Silver badge

    The Met is helping a commercial advertising campaign

    This is only the tip of the iceberg with one in seven homes in London to be offered a "free" kit and being encouraged to register their details not with the Met but with Smartwater themselves.

    1. Smooth Newt Silver badge
      Happy

      Re: The Met is helping a commercial advertising campaign

      I think the Met, and the NPCC, should clarify whether they have any financial, mutual or commercial agreement with Smartwater and if so explain how this leaflet fits into that.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: NPCC

        NPCC?

        That's the renamed/updated version of the extremely dubious Association of Chief Police Officers Ltd (ACPO Ltd), isn't it?

        No wonder it's in trouble.

        Unfamiliar with ACPO Ltd and its activities and achievements? Go dig a little. You may not like what these people are doing in your name and with your money.

        Then wonder what the connections were between Theresa May and ACPO Ltd (other than her being Home Secretary at the time, obviously).

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: NPCC

          That's the Association of Chief Police Officers COMPANY LIMITED to give it it's full title.

          Devious beyond belief would not be too far short of the mark.

          1. dieseltaylor

            Re: ACPO

            THE ASSOCIATION OF CHIEF POLICE OFFICERS OF THE UNITED KINGDOM

            and the Accounts are overdue according to Companies House bu then it is being wound-up.!

            Private Limited Company by guarantee without share capital, use of 'Limited' exemption

            16 Aug 2016 Resolutions

            Special resolution to wind up on 2016-08-02

  2. WibbleMe

    Some one should be FIRED

    1. Voland's right hand Silver badge

      Out of a suitable caliber firearm if possible. Unfortunately, the ones on the HMS Belfast are probably in a state of disrepair so not fit for this particular use case. They are also a bit too narrow (only 6 inch - a peashooter even by WW2 standards), so some preliminary chopping of the extremities to fit into the breach may be required.

      1. WolfFan Silver badge

        IWM

        There are a pair of 15" rifles on the front lawn of the Imperial War Museum in deepest London. You should be able to fit even the swollen head of a Chief Superintendent or higher rank into that. recoil would be a bit of a problem, and aiming the thing to get hits on the Home Office might be more of a problem, but both are solvable.

        And, best of all, if all the Chief Superintendents or higher that I've ever met are any guide, detaching the head for use to bombard the Home Office would make absolutely no difference... or, perhaps, might actually improve their behaviour.

        (Who, me, have a low opinion of plods, and the higher the rank the lower the opinion? Whatever gave you that idea?)

        1. Rich 11 Silver badge

          Re: IWM

          and aiming the thing to get hits on the Home Office might be more of a problem, but both are solvable.

          Why the Home Office? This is the Met at fault. Turn those guns to three points on the port bow and they should be able to hit New New Scotland Yard.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Allegedly, the guns on HMS Belfast would score a direct hit on the M1 "London Gateway" motorway services if fired.

        1. Kubla Cant Silver badge

          Allegedly, the guns on HMS Belfast would score a direct hit on the M1 "London Gateway" motorway services if fired.

          I remember reading that when I worked in an office opposite HMS Belfast, but it can't be true. I mean, if they could shell a Welcome Break, why wouldn't they?

    2. N2 Silver badge

      Some one should be FIRED?

      Agreed, regrettably they are much more likely to be promoted.

  3. LeahroyNake Bronze badge
    Coffee/keyboard

    Out of the office...

    Or on the run from the ICO ?

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: Out of the office...

      Old saying: one day you're out of the office, the next you're out of office.

  4. Gordon Pryra

    Wish my brother worked for Government department

    Who would advertise my product for free.......

    "Who gave marketing agency access to super-sensitive address database?"

    Put it this way, EVERY single one of my mates in the force have done searches on their daughters boyfriends.

    So that is the general position of the police on using their data for personal use.

    Hardly surprising that this Copper was given carte blanche to do whatever he wanted by the guys in IT who had the ability to pull the database for him.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Wish my brother worked for Government department

      Useful tip.

      Remember kids if you're knobbing a coppers daughter arbitrarily report him for looking you up for no reason. You're likely to be right.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Wish my brother worked for Government department

        > Remember kids if you're knobbing a coppers daughter arbitrarily report him for looking you up for no reason. You're likely to be right.

        A statistically-backed pre-emptive strike. I like that! :-)

  5. Dr Who

    Shit meet fan. Do your thing.

  6. tedleaf

    Nice if you to publish the name of the amateur ad company involved,just hope their I.t security is good,their site will collapse with the number of hackers trying to get to that database,it's worth a large fortune to certain crooks...

    1. David 140

      www.yesdirectmail.co.uk

      "You are viewing the text version of this site.

      To view the full version please install the Adobe Flash Player and ensure your web browser has JavaScript enabled.

      Need help? check the requirements page."

      'Nuff said. They obviously are very security savvy.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      > their site will collapse with the number of hackers trying to get to that database,it's worth a large fortune to certain crooks...

      Why would anyone bother doing it the hard way when seemingly you can just walk up to the Met and ask for a copy?

      1. Rich 11 Silver badge

        Why would anyone bother doing it the hard way when seemingly you can just walk up to the Met and ask for a copy?

        As long as you've got the funny handshake down to a fine art, I expect that's true.

    3. Locky Silver badge
      Mushroom

      Don't worry, judging by the speed of the BT Openreach rollout north of the Gap, they'll just be able to unplug the US Robotics 33k modem to protect themselves

  7. User McUser

    A large part of firearms security is through obscurity

    Meanwhile in the US, a large part of firearms security is owning more firearms.

    1. codejunky Silver badge

      @ User McUser

      Surely that depends where you are. In highly regulated states it is only the criminal or the police who might shoot you.

      I expect in conceal carry states the security through obscurity applies as anyone could be armed so is it worth invading their security? Even in generally liberal states the same applies as breaking into the wrong home could be the last criminal act of a person.

      Over here in the UK we seem to have gun owners (the few) and those with odd fantasies of guns (almost everyone else I have talked to). Normal people thinking that gun ownership means you must be a nutter or nutters thinking a gun will make them 'ard'.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "Meanwhile in the US, a large part of firearms security is owning more firearms"

      It's actually not too bad. There are the 3% who own something like 50% of all known firearms, then out of the total gun owner population a little more than half are military or ex-military or police, so on average your typical US gun owner is someone properly trained half the time. It could be worse, and generally is in the poor areas of the US where people still think squirrels and raccoons are food animals and "gun training" means you managed to not kill yourself and your family as a child in a house with unsupervised firearms available 24/7. Still, those things have a way of fixing themselves; in 2016 there was about one toddler shooting each week for the entire year. Half the time the poor kid shoots themselves or another kid, but the other half they solve the problem by killing or seriously injuring their idiot parent who left out a loaded gun for them. So, problem solved; no new idiot offspring.

      Also, why do you need a gun in London? Is it to thwart those scofflaws who threaten the crown's good people with illegal crumpets, or perhaps an off-putting blood pudding or some fish and chips that are a few days past expiration? I only get my info about the UK from TV. Do the titheads still not carry weapons, or do they just beat up suspects like the police used to do in the US before the advent of personal video systems? Also, isn't everything under constant video surveillance? Should that not equate to zero crime in the streets, hence no need to carry a elephant rilfe down Piccadilly Circus or is that the Flying Circus? :P But, then I'm just being rhetorical and flippant.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        > then out of the total gun owner population a little more than half are military or ex-military or police, so on average your typical US gun owner is someone properly trained half the time.

        I don't know about US police, but ...

        US military, "properly trained", same sentence? For what values of "properly trained"???

        1. 404 Silver badge

          'US military, "properly trained", same sentence? For what values of "properly trained"???'

          US military on the pointy end will kill/deny you resources quite efficiently, while the support train can fudge training numbers and thus do not have the actually training - they also tend to be a mixed bag of personality types, so they can drag down the kill ratio. "We Train Hard, so War is Easy" combined with Unit tradition of 'It is not your duty to die for your country, there is no honor in that, it's to make the other sonuvabitch die for his!' (pretty sure Patton quote)

          Figure in that there are now several generations of retired combat vets - woe betides the side they are not on come de la Revolucion. Historic ref: Revolutionary Armies of Washington et al had high levels of British trained combat vets from the French-Indian wars, who were further trained in frontier fighting tactics borrowed from the war. British didn't have many blooded troops until they brought in the Hessians, and were slow to react to creative attacks by the so-called rustic colonials. Having all these vets around not happy with Federal policies, should make folks thoughtful. It won't, because humans are content to repeat history because they have somewhat superior intellect compared to the masses, therefore consider it inconceivable that they would reap the same results as their more-backward political predecessors in the past.

          As for uncontrolled weapons purchasing... I'm at odds with the NRA (paid member) in the belief NO ONE should be allowed to own a firearms unless they have completed a proficiency range test and a strong Law & Safety test - make them work for it if they want it - I want zero accidents and responsibility with weapons ownership. But what do I know?

          The London argument doesn't really apply with the recent truck attack on that bridge - trained citizen weapons ownership would have enabled two better possible outcomes: Armed Concerned Citizen stops attack with personal weapon or more likely, blocking the sonuvabitch trucker in a hurry, because Mr. Crazed Trucker ain't getting position on me by cheating. Isn't nice and I do not have to tolerate bad behavior in polite society.

          Enough rambling, lack of sleep is making me see things..

          tl:dr rambling opinions not in any particular order.

      2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        "but the other half they solve the problem by killing or seriously injuring their idiot parent who left out a loaded gun for them. So, problem solved; no new idiot offspring."

        But by that time the blood line (sic) has been perpetuated.

    3. Eddy Ito Silver badge
  8. Justicesays

    If any crims want to know if someone has a firearm in your area...

    Ask someone at the (undoubtedly morally upright and well protected ) YDM agency.

    Or maybe just pay someone over at the Met, looks like they are in the business of providing that info for cash.

    Or you could just check the local recycling bins for leaflets.

    1. Tom 7 Silver badge

      Re: If any crims want to know if someone has a firearm in your area...

      Having had to break into a friends gun cabinet once this is a bit worrying - it only took 3 minutes or so.

      1. TRT Silver badge

        Re: If any crims want to know if someone has a firearm in your area...

        Yeah, when Jeremy Kyle on the wall mounted flatscreen with the hidden mains supply, and you can't find the remote... I can understand the requirement.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: If any crims want to know if someone has a firearm in your area...

        Unfortunately all too true. I occasionally have visitor who do wish to store a shotgun or rifle during their visit. The cabinet is expensive and even with modern power tools would be difficult to open within 20 minutes. By which time alarms will have been set off (independent of anything other than a cellular connection and/or power outage of 14 days or more.

        Most (still approved) gun cabinets are extremely poor, although I can't do it, I have seen two opened with a small screwdriver and a slightly stiff varian on a paper clip. A model drill will have them open in under a minute.

  9. Pen-y-gors Silver badge

    On leave?

    " the key person responsible was on leave."

    probably permanently...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: On leave?

      "" the key person responsible was on leave.""

      you missed a word

      " the key person responsible was on PAID leave."

  10. GrumpenKraut Silver badge
    Mushroom

    FFS

    The article spells it out: "you take every precaution against strangers learning what your home address is if you store firearms there because that makes you a target for criminals."

    If the gun owners I know suspected their home address might float around they'd be VERY unhappy indeed. A targeted break in for guns is NOT anything you want to happen to your home.

    By law here in GrumpenLand, guns have to be kept in seriously heavy safes. How is that in the UK? Asking because if firearms can be extracted without opening a safe, the chances for targeted break ins are even higher.

    Holy fecking smoke... --------->

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: FFS

        no they don't need to be stored in a metal box. They have to be stored securely, the law doesn't say what securely means, you certainly wouldn't get away with storing a sec1 firearm in a metal school locker!

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: FFS

        Odd the people I know, keep theirs in very secure cases, often up in the loft.

        All the houses are alarmed.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: FFS

        Many moons ago, in a failed career as one of Wiltshire's finest, I interviewed a chap who was an ex-Easter European pistol shooting champion. He'd applied for a firearms certificate to keep a Browning 9mm pistol at home. His plan was to keep it in an old swimming pool locker.

        That, and the fact he'd not disclosed previous convictions, went against him.

        So no, it's not just a case of any old metal box - a brief Google will come up with standards documents for cabinets, and any applicant for a firearms certificate will need one of them.

      4. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: FFS

        Given sale figure for low cost cabinets a fair number!

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: FFS

      in the UK the law states

      "The safekeeping condition attached to firearms or shotgun certificates requires that the guns and section 1 ammunition must be stored securely to prevent, so far as is reasonably practicable, unauthorised people taking or using them. Any other person who does not hold a firearm or shotgun certificate is included in the term ‘unauthorised’."

      So in other words you don't actually need a gun cabinet but most people do TBH. I only have a shotgun and have a cabinet, my mate has as sec1 firearm and shotgun and he also does. You might just about get away with not having a cabinet with a shotgun but I doubt you would with a sec1. When you apply for or renew (I'm just in the process of renewing mine) you'll also get a visit from your local Plods firearms department to check out your security arrangements.

      1. death&taxes

        Re: FFS

        To pass plod's initial and renewal inspection for a rifle/section 1 you would definitely need an approved gun cabinet fixed to a solid masonry wall. For a single shotgun some forces accept a gun clamp, ideally in the loft as burglars generally avoid entering them for the risk of being trapped.

        It is of course total nonsense to suggest that a metal filing cabinet would be acceptable.

        1. Will Godfrey Silver badge
          Meh

          Re: FFS

          Aren't you also supposed to store the firearms and ammunition separately?

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: FFS

            "Aren't you also supposed to store the firearms and ammunition separately?"

            Yes. In the US, schoolchildren of kindergarten to middle school (5 year old through roughly 13 years) must keep all firearms in their main school lockers and NOT in their gym locker, where the ammo goes. Also, personal firearms (handguns smaller than 45cal, grenades, anti-tank weapons, tasers, stasers, phasers, razors, and flangers) MUST be kept in your backpack or purse. The main school lockers are for rifles and NOT books. Let's have some priorities on our way to high school and college, where sports take on the main focus, in place of all other unnecessary activities, like the learning, and the "front operation" keeps the money, drugs, and other perks going into the sports program's coffers, and some very important pockets you don't need to be aware of.

            1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

              Re: FFS

              Although the nerds get a lot more respect since the chess club got an atomic bomb

    3. Mark Dempster

      Re: FFS

      >By law here in GrumpenLand, guns have to be kept in seriously heavy safes. How is that in the UK? Asking because if firearms can be extracted without opening a safe, the chances for targeted break ins are even higher.<

      The actual requirement for security isn't stipulated nationally, but is down to your local Chief Constable. Some forces insist on VERY stringent measures, with thick steel cases that have to be firmly fixed to the structure of the building using tamperproof bolts etc, anti-pick locks, lock & ammo stored separately, and various other measures. Some will accept a wooden case with a simple lock. Remember also that there's a distinction between a firearm and a shotgun; the rules on shotguns are usually more lax.

    4. Hans 1 Silver badge
      Holmes

      Re: FFS

      @GrumpenKraut

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0rR9IaXH1M0

      If it's locked up in a safe, it is of no bloody use!

      1. GrumpenKraut Silver badge
        Thumb Up

        Re: FFS

        > https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0rR9IaXH1M0

        Bloody hilarious, Thanks!

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