BASC statement on IOPC report into Keyham shootings

A police officer

BASC has responded to a statement issued today (21 February 2023) by Home Office Minister Chris Philp following the conclusion of the inquests into the shooting of five people in Keyham by Jake Davison in 2021.

In his interim statement to Parliament and in answer to questions from MPs, Philp said that the Home Office planned to respond more fully within 60 days of receiving a report into the Keyham shootings from the coroner.

However, he has already reviewed a report into the shootings published today by the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) and an earlier paper on firearms licensing submitted by the Scottish Affairs Committee.

The IOPC today recommended that steps are taken to implement the same processes and requirements for shotgun certificate applicants as those that already exist for firearms licences.

And today the Minister announced the launch of a consultation later this year into proposals to secure full cost recovery for firearms licenses from applicants.

Christopher Graffius, BASC’s executive director of communications and public affairs, said: “BASC is clear that we need a system of licensing that protects public safety and also provides an efficient service. It is plain to see that that system was absent in Keyham with tragic consequences.

“It is obvious from the comments of the coroner and the verdict of the jury at the inquests that the fault lay not with the existing laws but with their inconsistent application by Devon and Cornwall Police.”

BASC has written to the coroner to outline key steps that could help prevent future shootings and will discuss these recommendations in meetings with government in the weeks ahead.

Mr Graffius added: “BASC has previously asked for the creation of a national regulator to monitor and manage both firearms licensing and the training of police staff and officers to improved standard.

“We also want a system that ensures the medical profession has a statutory obligation to engage fully with the licensing system.

“BASC is also a member of the Home Office Fees Working Group and we will be representing the views of the shooting community in any consultation and discussion around future licensing fees.

“However, while supportive of considered measures that improve public safety, we would challenge the IOPC recommendation to remove the distinction between processes and requirements in relation to shotgun and firearms certificate holders.

“This would impose an unnecessary burden that would do nothing to improve public safety. Indeed, it would place a further, unmanageable workload on firearms licensing teams that are already failing to meet their statutory obligations to protect the public. That recommendation, if implemented, would have a significant, detrimental impact on the service the police are able to provide to the community.

“BASC will meet with government in the coming weeks to ensure that the views of the shooting community are represented and that the change needed to protect public safety is proportionate, effective and are not at the cost of the lawful, legitimate firearms community.”