Page last updated at 14:19 GMT, Friday, 13 March 2009

Ex-UDR man fears loss of weapon

The man said he still felt under threat

A former soldier has expressed concern about having to give up his personal protection weapon.

The man, who wished to remain anonymous, served in the Ulster Defence Regiment during the 1980s, but left the force 25 years ago.

Former soldiers and police officers can only renew their licence if a threat has been made to their life.

He said that while none had been made recently, he felt with recent dissident republican attacks a threat remained.

"There has been a threat made to my life - I was nearly shot - and I have been warned a lot of times by the police to watch my security," he said.

"I think it's a very, very bad time to turn around and take guns off people."

Despite leaving the services some time ago he remains employed in work for the security forces.

His licence is up for renewal, but he said that without a specific threat in the last six months he was afraid that he may have to give up his gun, which he said he carried "every day".

"As far as I'm concerned the threat is still here, it has not gone away," he added.

In a statement the police said it was policy that former officers and former Army members with a personal protection weapon can only be considered for a further license if it can be shown that there is a threat to their life.

It said the Chief Constable was legally required to be satisfied that the applicant has good reason for possession and that the applicant was a fit person to be entrusted with a firearm.

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