Spot checks for firearm licences

Station commanders have been informed that part of their operations this festive season would be to do spot checks on firearm safes, according to a press release by Free State Agriculture (FSA).

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Gernie Botha, security risk analyst at FSA, said it was worrying that instructions were given to police to do safe inspections, but that FSA, who was part of rural safety, had not been informed. “It’s a simple matter, let’s respect each other. The fact is police need a warrant to inspect a safe on a farm,” said Botha.

FSA sent a letter to members advising them that police were bound by the Farm Protocol as negotiated by Agri SA which stated that police had to make appointments with farm owners to visit farms.

“The process is directed at firearm licence holders, irrespective where you stay or work. In the case of the farmers, the agreed protocol between SAPS and the agriculture fraternity will be adhered to – and our stations, clusters and units have been informed accordingly. Any police officer who operates outside this set and legal framework must reported to their relevant commanders or the Provincial Office,” Brigadier Billy Jones, spokesperson for the provincial commissioner, told Farmer’s Weekly. Jones said.

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Farmers were also advised to apply for the renewal of a licence 90 days before expiry to prevent that they were seen as having an illegal firearm.