Live ammunition found at home of Jason Ablewhite
- Credit: Archant
Former police and crime commissioner Jason Ablewhite will not be prosecuted after live ammunition was found at his home.
A police search came across “a small box containing various size spent and live ammunition” in a locked cabinet.
A report from the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) says four cartridges were seized.
“It was suspected that the possession of the ammunition was not in accordance with the terms of his shotgun certificate,” says the report.
"The ammunition was forensically examined.
“The four bulleted cartridges were identified and amount to ammunition under Section 57(2) of the Firearms Act 1968.
“As such a firearm certificate is required for such ammunition to be lawfully possessed.”
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The report says: “Mr Ablewhite did not have a firearms certificate but did possess a shotgun certificate.”
The report says the ammunition was discovered in November 2019 during a probe into allegations concerning an email exchange of explicit photos with a 50-year-old woman.
Whilst searching Mr Ablewhite’s Huntingdon home, police found the ammunition which prompted the separate investigation.
Mr Ablewhite resigned from his £85,000 a year role in December 2019 when details of his email exchanges became public.
That a second unrelated investigation was under way has only now surfaced.
The IOPC says that evidence about his possession of live ammunition was passed to the Crown Prosecution Service.
The report says the CPS has decided “to take no further action”.
The IOPC says Mr Ablewhite was not authorised to possess the ammunition that could not be used in the three shotguns he was entitled to own.
"Mr Ablewhite provided an account as to how he acquired the ammunition which would suggest that he may not have committed an offence when he purchased the ammunition,” says the report.
“We did not consider it necessary to explore this in any further detail as there was no dispute that he had the ammunition in his possession and was not entitled to do so,” says the report.
“On the evidence gathered, we decided that there was an indication that a criminal offence may have been committed.
“We referred the evidence to the Crown Prosecution Service.”
The IOPC says the four bulleted cartridges removed from Mr Ablewhite’s home constituted ‘ammunition’ as defined in the Firearms Act 1968 and require a firearm certificate.
“The cartridges are not listed on Mr Ablewhite’s shotgun certificate and are not suitable for use in the three 12 bore shotguns listed on his certificate,” says the report.
“In a criminal interview with the IOPC on January 31, 2020, Mr Ablewhite explained he had a shotgun certificate since the age of 15.
“Between 1990 and 1993, he regularly attended Gun Club where they shot clay pigeons and skeet with a shotgun.
“They would then go to the pistol range in the evening and use calibre .22, .38, .45 Magnum and 9-millimetre ammunition on a regular basis to shoot targets.”
The IOPC says that according to Mr Ablewhite “it was not uncommon that ammunition and unspent cartridges would be left in the shooting vest he wore.
“It was also not unusual to take ammunition home”.
Mr Ablewhite explained that usually when he got home, he would put the ammunition to the side to take back the next week.
“Mr Ablewhite confirmed he would have bought and paid for the ammunition in the early 1990’s and that they would have been bought at the counter,” says the IOPC.
“When asked if he could evidence this, Mr Ablewhite said ‘no, we would have been paying cash over the counter’.
"When leaving the range, Mr Ablewhite explained they never did checks for ammunition and that it was not common practice for him to check himself either.
“When asked whether he was required to present his shotgun certificate when buying ammunition at the range, Mr Ablewhite replied ‘no’.
“He explained that ‘…in the early nineties… the actual pistols and… ammunition… didn’t have the same legislation and… I suspect the same robustness that it… would have now…’.
“Furthermore, according to Mr Ablewhite, on the range premises, an additional certificate was not required to shoot pistols or to handle their ammunition.”
The IOPC says Mr Ablewhite confirmed that no other person in his household held a shotgun or firearms certificate.
“According to Mr Ablewhite he did not realise that he had live ammunition at his address and that if he had come across them, he would have immediately handed them to the force armoury or nearest police station,” says the repo
In July 2019, Mr Ablewhite backed a Cambridgeshire police campaign to hand in any unlicensed firearms and ammunition as part of a two-week campaign.
“As part of wider crime prevention and reduction initiatives, this firearms surrender campaign can only help make the county safer and continue to keep this type of crime low,” he said.