Nottinghamshire is the latest police force to ignore Home Office guidelines and demand a General Practitioner’s letter when shooters apply for, or renew, a certificate. They join Lincolnshire, Kent and Merseyside in this practice, which is not supported by Home Office guidance.
Nottinghamshire’s change took effect for new applications immediately and applies to renewals from 3 December this year. Around 10,000 certificate holders in Nottinghamshire will be affected.
The Home Office states that if a police force does not receive a response to their initial request for medical information from an applicant’s GP within 21 days, they should assume there are no medical issues and grant a licence.
BASC is challenging Nottinghamshire’s decision to change its firearm licensing procedures, requesting meetings with the county’s Chief Constable Craig Gilford, and Police and Crime Commissioner, Paddy Tipping. The association is also writing to the county’s 11 MPs.
BASC’s Christopher Graffius said: “BASC wants an efficient, cost-effective and robust system of firearms licensing that protects public safety and provides excellent service to the shooting community. We believe that is best provided by police forces following the agreed protocols, laid down by the Home Office. We will be asking Nottinghamshire Police why it has not consulted with the 10,000 firearm and shotgun certificate holders who will be impacted by this change in policy.
“We also want to raise our fears that GPs will not be consistent in the fees they may charge for medical checks, and we want assurances that a system will be put in place to ensure GPs put an encoded reminder on certificate holders’ medical notes, in case medical issues arise during the life of the certificate.”
BASC is writing to their local members, notifying them of the policy change and encouraging them to contact their MP.