Licensing still a lottery

Firearms licensing continues to be blighted by a ‘postcode lottery’, says BASC. The organisation analysed figures for firearm and shotgun certificate grants and renewals to compile its second review of performance across England and Wales. The results show some improvement in 2017 compared to 2016, but a number of police forces have shown an ‘alarming slide in service delivery’, BASC say.

Lincolnshire and South Wales have shown worsening performance, while Merseyside has added almost a month to the time it takes to grant certificates. South Wales now takes almost twice as long as the previous year to turn around a shotgun certificate renewal.

Bill Harriman, BASC’s director of firearms, welcomed the improvements shown by some forces but warned against complacency in light of problems around medical involvement in firearms licensing. “Unfortunately, firearms licensing in England and Wales remains a postcode lottery,” he said. “There is an alarming lack of consistency in the service provided to the shooting community. Problems do lie ahead. We must continue to challenge proposals to introduce medical checks for which a fee will be charged and fight unfair increases in firearms licensing fees.”

He added: “BASC is lobbying at the very highest level of government and continues to meet peers, MPs, ministers and civil servants.”

The new table is based on figures from 1 January 2017, to 31 December 2017 and uses a traffic light system to show performance, with yellow indicating average performance, green above average and red below. Figures are the average time taken in days, with the previous year’s figures in brackets. The full table can be found on the website www.basc.org.uk.

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