The SA Police Firearms Branch will be writing to licensed firearms owners as part of an audit process while transferring data to a new computer system.
The upgrade of SAPOL’s record keeping database, called the Firearms Control System (FCS) is underway, with the state system to ultimately interface with the national Australian Firearms Information Network (AFIN). Integration with AFIN requires the application of a National Firearms Identification Database (NFID) template. Both AFIN and NFID are managed by the Australian Crime Intelligence Commission (ACIC), and information is available on the ACIC internet site about these initiatives. The interface with AFIN requires additional information relating to specific firearms.
Over the coming months SAPOL will be notifying licensed firearms owners in writing and requesting them to conduct a self-audit of their firearms with regard to the make, model, serial number and a number of other identifying features of their firearms, and also to provide a declaration that the standard of security in which those firearms are stored is compliant with the Firearms Act. Audit results are to be recorded using an online form which is accessible on SAPOL’s internet site and licence holders have 28 days to complete the form once they have been notified in writing.
Superintendent Stephen Howard, the officer in charge of the Firearms Branch, stated that integration with AFIN helps police and other law enforcement agencies manage the registration, licensing and movement of firearms coming into Australia and moving between our states and territories.
“The new system that is being proposed to replace SAPOL’s current Firearms Control System requires accurate information, as this will provide a sound foundation that will offer dividends in terms of officer and public safety, will allow access to both state and national firearms data in real time, and will deliver a better service to licence holders by decreasing turnaround times for license applications, renewals and registrations,” he said.
“Firearm possession and use is a privilege that is conditional on the overriding need to ensure public safety. The new system will achieve this by interfacing with other SAPOL systems and AFIN.”
“In accordance with the Firearms Act we are engaging with licensed firearms owners in a self-audit process to audit the makes, models and serial numbers held by licence owners.”
“Firearms Licence holders will receive a written request to conduct an audit of their firearms pursuant to the Firearms Act, and those results must be provided to SAPOL. Once provided, Firearms Branch data quality assurance officers will process the self-audits, as is permitted under the Firearms Act 2015.”
Superintendent Howard said this process would occur online where Firearms Licence holders can directly input their audit information into a secure online form. Firearms Branch data quality assurance officers will verify the information, and may contact the licence holder to clarify any information provided.
“We have over 66,000 licensed firearms owners in South Australia, so this process could take some time and will be conducted in stages. Not all licence holders will receive the request at the same time” he said.
“Licence holders do not have to do anything until they receive notification from Firearms Branch.”
It is also separate from Operation Secure, the long-running audit program in which police officers visit firearms owners without prior notice to ensure they are compliant with their requirements under the Firearms Act, he added.
“This is about preparing the current data for transfer to the new system, and integrating with AFIN,” Superintendent Howard said.
As part of the communication with licensed firearms owners about the request for self-audits, police have published full details on the corporate website, and will meet with firearms dealers, gun clubs and collectors as the need arises.
Anyone who wants more information about this process can visit the Firearms Branch webpage at https://www.police.sa.gov.au/firearms-audit
Anyone with a firearm that they no longer want is also invited to surrender it under the current general amnesty. For full details please visit the SA Police website here: https://www.police.sa.gov.au/services-and-events/firearms-and-weapons/firearms-amnesty