The British Association for Shooting and Conservation (BASC) has taken a range of firearms licensing issues in Northern Ireland to the top, by holding talks with two of the province’s police chiefs.
BASC’s Chairman Robert Irvine met the Chief Constable of Police Service Northern Ireland (PSNI), Matt Baggott, recently to discuss the timescale for processing applications for grant and variation. The association is now seeking a further meeting with the Chief Constable to maintain the pressure to get sufficient resources to the firearms branch to allow them to improve the service.
The issue was also top of the agenda at a meeting at BASC’s Northern Ireland office in Lisburn between the association’s Northern Ireland Director Roger Pollen and Regional Officer Tommy Mayne and the new head of PSNI’s firearms and explosives branch, John Rafferty. Mr Pollen and Mr Mayne held lengthy discussions with Mr Rafferty on a range of firearms licensing issues which are of particular concern to members.
Mr Rafferty explained that the actual processing time for applications for grant and variation is around four to six weeks, but that there is currently a delay of up to twelve weeks before the processing begins due to a lack of resources.
Other issues discussed at the meeting with Mr Rafferty included firearms security and consistency of approach to licensing. Roger Pollen said: "It was a good meeting with a number of positive outcomes and we hope that Mr Rafferty will be successful in strengthening his branch’s resources and improving performance."