AN OFF DUTY COP who couldn’t help himself but to peek into someone’s window has led to a bizarre set of accusations against a shooter who was only cleaning his gun.
The good news is that the problem has gone away – but it exposes ongoing bad behaviour by the NSW registry.
The story starts in Sydney’s inner west when, as we understand it, an off-duty cop was passing a house when he or she saw a gun being cleaned inside the owner’s home.
The owner, K, then received a call from a female officer from NSWPol’s nearby station.
The officer asked if his safe is bolted to the wall. K’s safe weighs 153kg empty, so he said bolting was not required.
The officer said the safe should be bolted down “because people can put it on the trolley” and that she would fail him for an inspection if it was not bolted down. K then corrected her by drawing her attention to information published on the NSWPols’s firearm registry website.
A Peeping tom with a badge
The officer then said an off-duty police officer saw a gun through K’s window and that it was pointed towards the window.
K told her that he was cleaning the gun on a desk next to a window but the muzzle was always pointed towards a wall or upward.
As you can see by this picture of K’s house, it would be possible to see into the window, but whether it is something a person holding a badge should be doing, or to even be concerned about, is debatable.
The officer went on to question whether he was fit to hold a firearm licence, that it sounded like he was “flipping” the concern off and that would be a reason to disqualify his licence.
NO DANGER, NO OFFENCE, not even any paperwork
K was cleaning his gun, on a desk next to a front window in his own home. The more cynical of you might wonder if K in fact pointed the gun out of the window.
However, if the officer saw this or perceived any form of danger, he or she could have easily been able to do something about it. For example, have his or her colleagues front up with flashing lights. Or kick the door down.
However, there was none of this. There was no statement to that effect, no knock on the door and not even any charges. In fact there is no information to suggest that the gun was even seen by any member of the public.
What this tells us is that K was doing exactly what he said – cleaning his gun and minding his own business.
K does agree that it might have helped if he had closed his blind, but whether that is necessary will depend on each individual situation.
In fact, this is reminiscent of the actions of the NT Police who peered into Ron Sterry’s windows and based a raid on seeing nothing more than a chemistry kit. Click here to see that story.
THE INVESTIGATION WITHOUT AN INVESTIGATION
K told us that when he spoke with the female officer, she was combative and aggressive, and K sensed that she was trying to trip him over.
The officer said there was a criminal investigation into this taking place, and it was “hard to make a judgement without actually seeing your place so it is actually better for us to talk in person”. In our book, that’s code for saying that she was looking for a reason to suspend or cancel K’s licence.
That’s when he contacted the NSC. Consistent with the advice we give every shooter, the only reason police will engage in a conversation is to get something that gives them a reason to take action against you. Without being impolite, remember, that is what they do for a living. Our advice, as always, is if you have any doubt or concerns, see a lawyer.
As you will have seen from Episode 13 of NSCTV, the odds of an interaction with the police ending up well improve significantly when you get a good lawyer.
As a result, K engaged the services of Nick Gad. https://gadco.com.au/ According to K, Nick spoke with the same officer and also sensed that she was combative and was reportedly “just trying to use anything she could grab hold of to disqualify” K from holding his licence.
Importantly, Nick confirmed that the officer said there was no criminal investigation taking place.
Despite this, K agreed to a safe inspection. Nick attended the inspection, and we understand it went smoothly without a hitch.
The officer apparently told Nick that she only wanted to give K “a lecture about gun safety” as the result of someone seeing guns being pointed towards the window. In other words, her actions were pure bluff.
K’s view is that Nick’s experience in dealing with the police saved the day, and without his help, the matter “could have turned into a disaster without his involvement”.
When the police call
Our advice is to always be polite and courteous to the police. Help them when they need help and always comply with lawful directions.
However, remember that when they turn their attention to you and try to engage in a conversation, there can often be a loser in what happens next.
Here’s a great video on this, including what to do and not do. It’s had nearly 18m views: there is a good reason for that.
If you do become the target of their attention, don’t cut corners – get a lawyer.
9 thoughts on “NSWPol uses Peeping Tom for gun safe inspection”
It’s sad that the police can’t be trusted
A good result, however I’m concerned that these flippant accusations by a member of the force is at the financial cost and stress of the accused. They should be made accountable. Thanks NSC for the updates. Great work team.
I have been a NSC member for a few years now. I applaud the unfortunately necessary work that the NSC does in all states.
I am also a former NSWPF officer of (too) many years. and I have conducted more inspections that I can remember. To briefly state the obvious, the firearms laws in this country are ridiculously onerous and often open to far too much interpretation.
While I completely agree with the NSC’s overall evaluation of this particular incident, I do want to make a couple of points.
“Despite this, K agreed to a safe inspection.” If the Police want to conduct a safe storage inspection they can. The only legal recourse is that it has to be at a “mutually agreeable time”. The inference from this statement is that K was wrong in agreeing to an inspection. This is not the case. K obviously arranged the inspection at a mutually convenient time for K and his lawyer. Again, this is a great idea if you are unsure of the legislation and/or have any concerns.
This leads me to my last point on this article. Given the nature of firearms laws in Australia and it’s states and territories, as a LAFO you should be very familiar with the laws of your state. Ignorance of the law is no excuse etc, etc… Police officers are just people from all walks of life. However, over the years, the training of Police has become woefully inadequate.
Combine that with the bombardment of anti-firearms rhetoric and a general disinterest in firearms. The Police officer you are speaking too probably knows far less than you do about firearms and the law. Worse still, they probably don’t want to know.
I have watched this video before, in it’s entirety. This is an old(ish) video of a US lawyer, speaking about laws relevant to the USA, not Australia. Our laws, particularly regarding firearms, are vastly different. I think the NSC should remove reference to this video.
Know the laws and regulations of your state. If you are contacted by Police, be courteous and help educate them regarding the laws in a polite manner. If/when you become unsure or concerned, speak to a competent lawyer.
My 2c worth.
Even though he was doing nothing technically wrong, “K” should have known better than to be seen handling a firearm and therefore advertising the fact that he has a firearm(s). Potentially making him the target of thieves.
Being berated over the phone is poor form. If you ever find yourself in a similar situation remain polite and ask “Who am I speaking with?” before making
note of it and asking to speak to someone else. If they refuse just say you’re not going to be spoken to like that and you’d appreciate a call back. Then hang up. A formal complaint will usually only be accepted in writing, addressed to the Commander of (insert station) Police and mailed to the station address. Entirely up to you whether you go that far, but it’s really the only feedback system for negative experiences.
I have got into the habit of closing my blinds before cleaning or even getting my firearms out of my safe for just this reason, You never know who it watching..Keep up the great work NSC
I am continuesly amazed by these stories regarding legal gun owners in this Country being victimised simply because they own legally acquired and registered firearms…Perhaps all Australian Goverments would prefer iff we all just forget about Licences,Permits and all the other Rubbish associated with gun ownership, and just source everything from “black market Charlie”!
Maybe then, and only then, will Goverments finally realise, that
having a Communistic approach to legaly aquired firearms simply doesn’t work for anyone..
I find this case very interesting, Do the Police seriously expect us to believe that an off duty Cop just happened to be driving down a particular street, and just happened to look into the direction of a house window that just happened to be occupied by a licenced shooter?.. then just by coincidence, just happened to notice a shooter cleaning his rifle at that procise moment in time?
Turn it up!, the odds of winning Lotto are better than that.
Unless ofcourse, the Police now hires officees that are nothing more than Perverts, who have nothing better to do all day than drive around peering through home owners windows in the hope of catching an eyefull of what’s going on inside!
How is it that the off duty cop was able to know he had a firearm out without being right up to the windows and peeping in. reflections during the day time would make it hard to tell if he just happened to glance in that direction unless there was a light on inside the house, its a bit hard to tell from the photo but does the house have a front yard? which would mean observers would be further away and make it harder to distinguish what he was holding, could of been a broom handle