Police forced act to tackle firearms licensing delays

Plans have been announced to almost double the number of staff in Staffordshire Police and West Midlands Police’s firearms licensing department to tackle a growing backlog in applications.

The plans, which would see the number of staff in the firearms licensing department that covers both police force areas increase by 12 to a total of 26 in a bid to overturn the current delays, have been welcomed by the UK’s largest shooting organisation, the British Association for Shooting and Conservation (BASC).

The Staffordshire and West Midlands firearms licensing department has consistently ranked in the bottom five of BASC’s firearms licensing league table1.

The current backlog with licensing is causing many certificate holders to be placed on temporary permits or forced to put their firearms into storage, restricting their ability to shoot and incurring costs. The backlog has also left new applicants waiting months, if not years, to hear if their applications have been granted.

Martin Parker, BASC’s head of firearms, said: “As a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, there are record delays across firearms licensing in England and Wales. This direct action is welcome news for those constituents that are suffering because of the delays. Their action should be seen as a target for the numerous other forces in the same predicament.

“The delays are not just impacting an extremely popular pastime but also the tens of thousands of jobs that rely on the use of firearms. From Olympic-discipline athletes to pest controllers and gamekeepers, a consistent and effective licensing system is essential for many.

“BASC has been running an online campaign to ensure Police and Crime Commissioners are aware of the impact the delays are having on ordinary people across the country. It is great to see Staffordshire Police and Crime Commissioner Ben Adams and the firearms licensing department take action.”

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