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) …

  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
      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!

  11. rh587 Bronze badge

    Breach? Interesting choice of words. I suppose breach of trust, but not quite what we might think of as a "breach" (e.g. the TalkTalk hack). It's not much of a breach if they deliberately give the data away!

    I suspect they're going to plead innocence under the very Data Protection statement mentioned in the article:

    my GP, other government departments, regulatory bodies or enforcement agencies in the course of either deciding the application or in pursuance of maintaining public safety

    MetTrace (clearly branded on the leaflet) is the Met's anti-burglary programme, and they'll say they were targeting firearm owners as a high-risk group of potential burglary victims - thus a high priority for public safety projects. The Firearms Team will say they only gave it to another division of the Met for an approved purpose and didn't know it was going to be sent to a third party for the mail-outs.

    Of course, the fact that the Met already have a list of every firearm on their patch including a description and serial number is besides the point! You don't need smartwater to figure out where a recovered firearm has been stolen from!

    1. Commswonk Silver badge
      FAIL

      The Firearms Team will say they only gave it to another division of the Met for an approved purpose and didn't know it was going to be sent to a third party for the mail-outs.

      They very well might say that, but it prompts the question "approved by whom". I wouldn't mind betting that the approval process didn't involve a Data Controller; if it did then there ought to be a vacancy for such a post before long.

      While referring FAC (or SGC) applications to the applicant's GP is perhaps understandable (to find out if there are any "health" reasons why a certificate should not be granted) there remains a concern in the shooting fraternity that a marker on medical records at a GP's surgery is itself a security risk, given that all and sundry within the practice have access to the records and there is no means of knowing if any of them might be tempted to pass the information to others who might make malicious use of it. Needless to say these concerns have been ignored.

      By any standards this looks like an epic blunder on the part of the MET, but I'd be astonished (and pleased!) if any meaningful disciplinary action resulted. In one sense it doesn't really matter; the damage has been done and cannot now be undone.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      It's not much of a breach if they deliberately give the data away!

      Gave? I rather suspect sold is a more appropriate word.

    3. Roland6 Silver badge

      Re: Breach? Interesting choice of words.

      Agree, the article provides no evidence of a breach.

      I suggest that what has happened is that the Met Police have distributed a leaflet, by post in a plain envelope(?) to some (or all) holders of firearms within their area. With the envelope carrying a return address of YDM - I assume the PO Box or reference is unique to the MetPolice.

      One side of the leaflet is simply an official reminder about key contact details and the other an advert for a MetPolice service that uses SmartWater. Thus SmartWater has had no sight of the full distribution list.

      The only questionable aspects of this leaflet distribution are:

      1) Owners available themselves of the SmartWater service by responding directly to smartwater.co.uk and not to the MetPolice.

      2) Have YDM been cleared to receive and handle confidential information.

      3) Who actually addressed the envelopes and when (ie. before or after the envelopes being stuffed and sealed): The Metpolice or YDM and hence who actually had sight of the full distribution list and the nature of the contents and thus could put two-and-two together.

    4. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      "the Met already have a list of every legally held firearm on their patch including a description and serial number"

      In addition to marking individual items it's possible that the material could be a contact trace material which could be used to identify anyone who'd come into contact with it. I went to their website to check this and guess what - there's no mention of this mailing in their "news".

  12. EnviableOne Bronze badge

    Its all in the interpretation

    "in pursuance of maintaining public safety or the peace" is so vague, that this and almost anything else can be justified by it.

    1. Richard 26

      Re: Its all in the interpretation

      "in pursuance of maintaining public safety or the peace" is so vague, that this and almost anything else can be justified by it.

      Perhaps. It's still a private company though and despite the italicization, no reasonable person would parse the sentence that way.

    2. Commswonk Silver badge
      Unhappy

      Re: Its all in the interpretation

      "in pursuance of maintaining public safety or the peace" is so vague, that this and almost anything else can be justified by it.

      Try as I might I cannot see how public safety is in any way "maintained" by handing out bulk details of perfectly legal firearms owners to people who have no business having it. It has increased the risk to public safety because the opportunities for theft have now been increased.

      As a "justification" for the action it seems incredibly flimsy.

  13. noddybollock
    Facepalm

    So now the DB info will be in at least 3 places,@ the MET, the agency and Smartwaters

    oh and probably on someones USB stick ---- well I hope they didn't email it to a yahoo acount!!

    1. rh587 Bronze badge

      oh and probably on someones USB stick ---- well I hope they didn't email it to a yahoo acount!!

      Nah, but when someone from YBM is summoned down to London from Leeds tomorrow, they'll be sure to leave it on the train!

  14. Your alien overlord - fear me

    Everyone is talking about the breach. What about the numbers? Why are the 25,000 shotguns in London? How many have shortened barrels and live in the back of Ford Transits?

    1. codejunky Silver badge

      @ Your alien overlord - fear me

      "Why are the 25,000 shotguns in London?"

      Why not?

    2. phuzz Silver badge

      I'm not sure where in London you could fire a gun and not run the risk of shooting someone, or at least their property. Exactly what's the use of a shotgun in London?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        and your point is? where in the UK can you drive faster than 70mph but many people have cars that will do at least twice that. Many people who live in London and shoot will pop off to the country side etc or to a local range to shoot their firearm

      2. Spacedinvader

        Quite a few places actually

        all you had to do was search...

        https://www.google.co.uk/search?q=london+shotgun+range&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8&client=firefox-b&gfe_rd=cr&ei=3of3WPnLDsXW8ge54K2gAg#q=london+shotgun+range&rflfq=1&rlha=0&rllag=51561451,-158061,12890&tbm=lcl&tbs=lrf:!2m1!1e2!2m1!1e3!3sEAE,lf:1,lf_ui:1

      3. cwh

        plenty of places to shoot around London - e.g.

        https://www.a1sg.co.uk/

        http://www.bisleyshooting.co.uk/

        http://www.shootingschool.co.uk/

        etc

      4. rh587 Bronze badge

        I'm not sure where in London you could fire a gun and not run the risk of shooting someone, or at least their property. Exactly what's the use of a shotgun in London?

        Woolwich Barracks apparently - seeing as that's where they held the Olympic Shooting (yes, shooting is an Olympic sport).

        Or any one of these clay pigeon sites listed by Spacedinvader (there are a few rifle clubs as well).

    3. Michael B.

      I wonder how many of these are actually re-enactment weapons as I believe they require shotgun licenses. ( At least that was what one of them told me when he broke character at a bank holiday event.)

    4. tiggity Silver badge

      Probably lots of people who live in London briefly go up North to moors etc and shoot mass produced (grouse, pheasant, partridge all intensively reared in huge numbers to be shot ) birds at high prices.

      So need their guns registered.

      I doubt the likes of Big Vern will have theirs registered

      It is trivially easy to get a shotgun licence, the "sport" of annihilating farmed birds is a big earner & so if you claim are a "sporting" gun user (no matter how occasionally) then pretty much job done on the licence.

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        "Probably lots of people who live in London briefly go up North to moors etc and shoot mass produced (grouse, pheasant, partridge all intensively reared in huge numbers to be shot ) birds at high prices."

        And clay pigeons although there's not much meat on those.

        Pheasant seem to rear themselves in large numbers round here.

    5. Commswonk Silver badge

      What about the numbers? Why are the 25,000 shotguns in London? How many have shortened barrels and live in the back of Ford Transits?

      Although I suspect that you are just being mischievous you might care to note that shortening the barrel of a shotgun is a specific offence; it can be done by a (registered) gunsmith in carrying out a repair but otherwise its a complete no - no. You might also care to note that getting an SGC or FAC is incredibly difficult if you have any hint of criminality in your record.

      As to What about the numbers the most significant one would be the incidence of theft of legally held firearms, which I believe is incredibly low. I'm not saying it doesn't happen but AFAIK it is not a significant problem in the grand scheme of things.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        "You might also care to note that getting an SGC or FAC is incredibly difficult if you have any hint of criminality in your record"

        As a Scout Leader in the past I've been required to get signed statements from parents to confirm that their 11-14 year-old sons did not have criminal records so that they were legally allowed to handle an air rifle when we had a target shooting actiivity.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          I think someone has spun you a line there. You don't need any license to use a air weapon so having a criminal record doesn't stop you from owning one.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        You might also care to note that getting an SGC or FAC is incredibly difficult if you have any hint of criminality in your record.

        Funnily enough, that doesn't seem to stop the crims getting access to guns if they want them.

        1. Adam 52 Silver badge

          It does. Criminal gun possession in the UK, whist becoming more prevalent, is still rare and those guns themselves aren't state of the art. That is partly because it is so hard to get hold of a gun and partly because we have a culture of our criminals not using guns, which itself is a positive feedback cycle with high sentencing for gun crime.

          1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

            "Criminal gun possession in the UK, whist becoming more prevalent, is still rare and those guns themselves aren't state of the art."

            I don't think that the gun's not being state of the art is much consolation if you're shot.

            As usual statistics can be made to tell all sorts of tales. The statistics at http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:iWHqAwnJi7UJ:http://researchbriefings.files.parliament.uk/documents/CBP-7654/CBP-7654.pdf%2Bgun+crime+statistics&cr=countryUK|countryGB&complete=0&hl=en-GB&gbv=1&tbs=ctr:countryUK|countryGB&ct=clnk#9

            show an impressive decline in offences. However the start date of this table avoids the even more impressive rise before that in the figure here: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/6960431.stm

  15. td0s

    A Blunder(bus)

    That someone would rifle through such a database, then take such a shotgun approach to marketing. I would at least expect some specific targetting. I would say this was a powder keg, with a hair trigger, once the ICO gets up in arms.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Guns don't kill people...

    Rappers Do...

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    so sure you got your gun secured in a truly safe and secure manner

    but now idiots are breaking into your place thinking they get an awesome score. Sure they don't get away with the gun but hey, you got insurance, right? Or do you after a couple attempts?

    nevermind the repeats where they know the gun is secured, so know they don't have to worry about getting shot if you're home when next they come a'callin.

    but gun owners "deserve it" will be the "final" response if I know this place and it's Bay Area Bubble American branch.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: so sure you got your gun secured in a truly safe and secure manner

      >but gun owners "deserve it" will be the "final" response if I know this place and it's Bay Area Bubble American branch.<

      Yes, the Left has a lot to answer for, but sadly not a lot to answer WITH!

  18. Captain Badmouth
    Big Brother

    Evening all...

    Nice little back'ander for somebody.

    Quis custodiet eh?

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Now now...

    The theives store their weapons more securely than legitimate owners. They're stashed in other peoples cabinets.

    Seriously though, im astonished at the number of people that own guns...why?

    Ive never been tempted to own a gun...seems outlandish and abstract to me.

    You can't tell me "home defense" if you have to keep the thing locked up.

    1. smudge Silver badge

      Re: Now now...

      Seriously though, im astonished at the number of people that own guns...why?

      Most likely target rifle shooting and clay pigeon shooting. Both perfectly legit - and well controlled - sports. With national HQ just outside London, at Bisley.

    2. Colabroad

      Re: Now now...

      Home defense is absolutely not a valid reason to have a gun in the UK.

      People own guns for hunting and sporting purposes, and sometimes reenactment.

      Bird hunting is still popular, deer hunters are on the decline but might pick up as they're becoming a real pest as the population grows (because less people are hunting them!)

      Target shooting is a hobby, you and I may not enjoy it but others do.

      Reenactors will need a shotgun license for most smoothbore black powder weapons like muskets and cannon, even if they're never used with actual shot, only powder charges.

      All the above have to prove participation in the relevant activities to the police and submit to semi-frequent inspections.

      Most shotguns and rifles will be manually operated with very limited capacity, you're not going to get paranoid survivalists stockpiling AKs and AR-15s with 100 round drum mags.

      1. Sweep

        Re: Now now...

        "they're becoming a real pest as the population grows (because less people are hunting them!)"

        Do you have a source for that?

        I agree that the deer population is growing/ has grown but AFAIK hunting (and I'm talking about hunting/ stalking specifically rather than culling) has little impact on overall deer numbers- bucks are favoured by trophy hunters rather than breeding-age females.

        If you want to reduce deer numbers (and I think we should, they have a serious impact on attempts at regenerating the Caledonian forest) then it would require a large-scale targeted cull, probably indefinitely even if we reintroduced predators (lynx, wolf, bear). This has been known for years but nothing is done as it would cost too much money. The Kiwis basically machine gun them from helicopters but I don't believe that would be acceptable in the UK unfortunately.

        I don't understand why there isn't a large-scale commercial hunt in this country- during the stalking season in parts of the highlands butchers buy venison from the estates very cheaply (it is basically a very tasty byproduct), then sell it over the counter at exorbitant prices (under the counter is a different matter :)).

    3. Terry 6 Silver badge

      Re: Now now...

      In the UK it can pretty much never be "home defence" as a reasonable force rule applies. And shooting people isn't often considered all that reasonable. - at least in the eyes of courts.

      1. noddybollock
        Pint

        Re: "home defence"

        "In the UK it can pretty much never be "home defence" as a reasonable force rule applies"

        Wasn't there a UK farmer that got done a few years ago for shooting some scallywag, then later had a reprieve or some such??

        Edit Ahh here we go (daily fail warning) http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-127513/Farmer-shot-intruder-walks-free.html

        Beer.... because I off to da pub

        1. Terry 6 Silver badge

          Re: "home defence"

          According to your article, in the two cases quoted one had a life term reduced to a 5 stretch on appeal and one was released because the circumstances allowed the court to judge his action reasonable - and no one had been killed. . But he was prosecuted. And since the shotgun was, according to the article kept under his bed, I'd assume from what other commentards have said about storage of guns, he was lucky not to be in deep manure for that.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: "home defence"

            > But he was prosecuted.

            At least in my corner of the woods, discharging a firearm against someone will be grounds for at the very least an investigation and most likely a prosecution if there is the slightest doubt about the legality of the action, which there usually is, in terms of its proportionality. It is expected and part of the culture, if you like, that keeps firearms users a responsible bunch.

            Might as well mention, it doesn't matter if you are a private licence holder or a member of the security forces, you will still be filing a report and expecting a visit to the judge.

        2. Gordon Pryra

          Re: "home defence"

          Yeah, but then again he DID shoot the guy in the back as he was running away.

          Hardly self defense :P

          (not saying he didn't deserve it, he did, just the wrong defense was used in court)

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Now now...

        > And shooting people isn't often considered all that reasonable

        Definitely unreasonable. But about shooting AT people?

        1. Terry 6 Silver badge

          Re: Now now...

          Accepted usage for an awful long time is that you shoot both people and guns. But it's a strange one. We'd never say that someone shot a tree, That would be shot at.Yet you do shoot at someone if you miss. Or compare "They shoot horses don't they". And of course we can shoot a video/movie.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Now now...

        Except this is wrong. In part of the United Kingdom - Northern Ireland - Handguns were not banned 20 years ago. Sure some are held for sporting reasons, but over 10000 people in Northern Ireland legally own and carry personal handguns for self-defense including defense at home.

        The 'no criminal record' part also doesn't apply to Northern Ireland. Theres plenty of convicted terrorists who were released as part of the peace process that carry legal handguns in Northern Ireland.

    4. GrumpyKiwi

      Re: Now now...

      Ah yes. The "I don't own a gun, never would and don't see any reason why someone would" person who likes to tell firearms owners just how things should - nay must - be.

      And while we are at it, the head of Marketing doesn't see why we need any of that firewall or anti-virus rubbish that just slows things down and he's an expert because he has an iPad and uses Facebook.

      And a reminder. Prior to both Hungerford and Dunblain the local firearms community had told plod that they were very concerned about the people involved and didn't think they were suitable for a firearms license. Plod of course did... nothing.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Now now...

        ah yes if anyone wants a good read download the Dunblane enquiry. The police get TOTALLY slated in it but of course it was shooters that suffered with more legislation. Rather than any Police officers being taken to task about their total failures to act on information given to them as to the suitability of Thomas Hamilton to own the weapons he did. Legislation was available at the time to try and stop people like Hamilton having a firearm, the Police failed, we did not need more laws, they did not followed the law that existed at the time, if they did their jobs properly the shooting probably wouldn't have happened..

        1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

          Re: Now now...

          "it was shooters that suffered with more legislation"

          After which, according to the Beeb article I linked earlier, gun crime rose by a huge amount and by the time of the other link I posted still hadn't been wrestled back down to the earlier level. It was an outstanding example of the unwisdom of knee-jerk legislation.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Now now...

          Needs a very small fix:

          "we did not need more laws, they did not followed the law that existed at the time, if they did their jobs properly the [insert thousands of possibilities] probably wouldn't have happened."

          Drones, for example. We have new specific anti-drone laws, when the existing aviation safety laws which cover drones and safety have hardly been enforced. But you can already get locked up (and rightly so) for shining a torch at an RAF jet, as John Arthur Jones did in 2016 after an extended investigation involving undercover police (who turned out to be known to some of the jurors in the first trial so a retrial was needed?!):

          http://www.walesonline.co.uk/news/wales-news/arrogant-businessman-shone-laser-jets-11898494 (Adblock strongly recommended, as with many such websites)

          I'm sure this will improve now many parts of the UK now have elected Police Crime Commissioners.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Now now...

            we do like to produce law in this country when we already have laws that aren't enforced that do the same as the "new" law. The only reason I can think of is the large numbers of lawyers in parliament making law to keep their still practising friends in work!

    5. rh587 Bronze badge

      Re: Now now...

      Seriously though, im astonished at the number of people that own guns...why?

      ...

      You can't tell me "home defense" if you have to keep the thing locked up.

      No indeed. Defence is not considered a good reason to own a firearm.

      - Target sport (up to and including Commonwealth/Olympic Games)

      - Pest control, protection of crops/livestock

      - Game hunting

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Now now...

        > Defence is not considered a good reason to own a firearm.

        In my corner of the EU, defence *is* considered a perfectly good reason to own and carry a firearm, you do not have to provide any reason for requesting the relevant licence category, and provided that you meet the requirements and pass the exams, it is issued.

        In practice, because it just costs a little bit more (and requires an almost perfect score in the tests) most of us apply for it, plus it's less of a hassle when carrying weapons to and from the range. However, I do not know anybody, myself included, who routinely carries a concealed weapon. I do not even own a firearm.

  20. HieronymusBloggs Silver badge

    Why the fuss?

    If you get shot with a stolen firearm you'll now have the peace of mind of knowing it might be marked with "Smartwater" (and thus be traceable) thanks to the Met's generosity with previously confidential data. </sarcasm>

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Why the fuss?

      :) Smartwater, schmartwater.

      Guess what? I have a source of fluid that is totally traceable and customized to my specific DNA. It's called piss and I can just piss all over my nicest and most valuable things and be one up on the old MET!!1! And by extension, Scotland Yard and Mr. Sherlock Holmes and his evil, high-tech, sidekick IBM Watson and his baccarat conundrum! The game is A FOOT! And my foot is asleep.

      Let me make a note of this new tech, so we can license it later...

      DNA-based, yellow, security fluid backed by blockchain, quantum, AI, public virtual, Watson cloudburst, on-prem, local, hybrid cloud offering.

      Thanks! Some samples and a very wet check are in the post, lads! Does Royal Mail accept counterfeit stamps?

      1. Korev Silver badge
        Pint

        Re: Why the fuss?

        Or just go for the Withnail approach...

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Thank you Met

    We have database, we sell addresses. You want, specify village/township and how many addresses. 100 zeni each. email youarestupidtothinkthisisreal@notarealdomain.tor.ru.anu.anus

  22. Sven Coenye
    Facepalm

    Selling it

    "While Smartwater kits are routinely offered to burglary victims by the force..."

    So they can mark the spots where their stuffs used to be? I hope "offered" means "free", 'cause otherwise, there's more than a few bad smells here.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Selling it

      "there's more than a few bad smells here."

      You must be new to the world of the Association of Chief Police Officers Ltd (ACPO Ltd), now renamed to NPCC or something like that.

      Dig a little. Learn a lot.

  23. Winkypop Silver badge
    Devil

    You leave one USB stick on a train and....

    ...everyone is shooting the messenger.

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Oh, direct marketing lists.

    That will explain the free sample of herpes cream some of us got in my street...

  25. Roj Blake Silver badge

    IPA

    Remember folks, these are the people who have virtually unfettered access to your internet connection records.

  26. Potemkine Silver badge

    the firm has since forged very close links with a number of UK police forces

    Now police has just have to find who extracted illegally the data to give/sell them to that firm

    A Met press officer did not immediately respond to our questions, saying that the key person responsible was on leave.

    Ok, that may not be that easy then...

  27. zaax

    Funny how the person who is responsable is always on leave.

  28. Mark Dempster

    >Everyone is talking about the breach. What about the numbers? Why are the 25,000 shotguns in London? How many have shortened barrels and live in the back of Ford Transits?<

    I'm finding it hard to decide whether this is a poor attempt at a joke, or you really don't understand what's being discussed...

  29. Dalek Dave

    You are advised not to let anyone know you have firearms.

    Why would I put a warning on my house?

    4 Rifles, 6 shotguns and an extended pistol, hundreds of cartridges, hundreds of rounds as well as black powder as well as crossbows, longbows, black widows and some nasty military and hunting knives, all locked in my gun room, protected by an alarm, a dog and a SOTA locking system.

    And still I don't want people knowing where it is!

  30. EnviableOne Bronze badge

    losing track

    this wasn't a smartwater campaign. It was a Met Police campaign, with a smartwater Ad.

    The met police sub-contracted the company to do the mailing, so remained the data controller throughout.

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