LICENSED shotgun and firearms holders are being encouraged to increase their security levels, and will be monitored by police, to ensure guns and weapons don't fall into the hands of criminals.
South Yorkshire Police said new regulations were being enforced following burglaries across the region, where firearms have been stolen from licensed holders due to their security having not been sufficient enough to stop thieves.
Before anyone is granted a shotgun or firearms certificate, a thorough inspection is carried out by a firearms enquiry officer to ensure the person applying has the correct security.
An interview is also conducted to understand previous contact with the police, family relationships, medical conditions and lifestyle factors. These are all part of the Home Office suitability criteria and essential to protect our communities.
David Macleod, warrants and firearms manager for South Yorkshire Police, said: “Firearms that fall into the hands of criminals can be used to cause fear and harm within our communities.
“We need to ensure that we are working together to protect South Yorkshire."
To increase South Yorkshire’s protection, certificate holders will now have to ensure they meet the criteria of each prescribed level, depending on the number of firearms they own.
The levels included are: Level 1 - One to five guns should be stored in a good quality approved cabinet.
Level 2 - Six to ten guns should be stored in a good quality approved cabinet with quality locks on doors and windows and an alarm system or CCTV system that alerts the owner to a possible breach.
Level 3 - 12 or more guns should be stored in multiple cabinets or a gun room, plus good quality doors and windows, monitored by an alarm and CCTV system.
Mr Macleod added: “As well as additional levels of security, we are asking holders to make sure keys to their cabinets are in a secure place and that you don’t advertise that you participate in the hobby of shooting.
“Further tips about security can be found on the SYP website and I urge everyone to have a read.”