What does loss mean?
Loss of explosives includes theft and most cases of loss of relevant explosives that need to be reported will be loss by theft. Accidental losses of relevant explosives can also occur during transport. Loss does not include relevant explosives which have not been stolen and which can be shown to have been destroyed, or rendered non-explosive.
Does any loss of a relevant explosive have to be reported?
The loss of even a small amount of any relevant explosive must be reported. This is important, given the significant potential for misuse presented by, for example, a single detonator or cartridge of blasting explosives in the possession of an unauthorised person.
Accountable losses, evaporation and accounting errors
A small accountable loss in weight of explosive substances (in handling during manufacture or laboratory analysis) does not have to be reported. A change in the previously measured weight is not regarded as a loss, if the change can be justifiably attributed for example to evaporation. Where a discrepancy in a record suggests a loss has taken place, but this can be shown to be an accounting error rather than a genuine loss, no report is required. In any case of doubt the police should be informed.
Losses of other explosives
Losses of small arms ammunition, fireworks and explosives listed in Schedule 2, other than:
- ammunition the acquisition of which is regulated or prohibited by virtue of the Firearms Acts 1968 to 1997
- smokeless powder
do not have to be reported to the police because they are not relevant explosives. It is however recommended that such losses are reported to the police and to any licensing authority because of the potential that all explosives have for misuse.
Systems to identify losses
Everyone with a duty to report losses of relevant explosives is required to:
- maintain adequate systems for ensuring that any loss of a relevant explosive is detected
- test that system at regular intervals to ensure its effectiveness
The nature of that system will depend on the circumstances but should include:
- regular stock checks against the records required to be maintained by regulation 35
- comparing deliveries against transport documentation, delivery notes and invoices
- investigating potential breaches of physical security to identify whether or not any relevant explosives have been stolen
Individuals acquiring or acquiring and keeping relevant explosives
Individuals acquiring and keeping relevant explosives for their own personal use other than in connection with their work are not required to keep records but should keep sufficient information to enable them to identify and report losses of relevant explosives.
This information should be sufficient to allow the nominal types and quantities of explosives lost to be reported and should include:
- invoices and receipts
- delivery notes
- notes of activities where explosive have been used
- lists or notes of relevant explosives manufactured
- lists or notes of relevant explosives used to manufacture other explosive articles
An initial report must be sent by the fastest practicable means, eg telephone or email, immediately following the discovery of any loss and this report should contain as much information as is initially available. A written report confirming details of the loss should be forwarded as soon as reasonably practicable after the initial report.
In order to report a loss a number of people may be involved in providing information. For instance, where a loss occurs during transport of explosives, the person making the report has to give relevant information in their possession to the consignor or consignee, (regulation 37(4)) and the consignor and consignee will also have to make a report or reports to the police ( and regulation 37(5)).
Related requirements to report losses of explosives in other legislation
Where explosives are lost at harbours, there is a related requirement under the Dangerous Substances in Harbour Areas Regulations 1987 to report a loss of those explosives to the Harbour or Berth Explosives Security Officer. This requirement applies whether the explosives are relevant explosives or not.