BASC is advising members to ensure they correctly fill out firearm and shotgun certificate renewal forms after being alerted to a number of ongoing prosecutions by South Wales Police.
BASC’s firearms team understands the force is paying particular attention to the standard question which asks applicants for details of any previous convictions.
To satisfy firearms legislation, all convictions must be declared regardless of timescales and there are no exceptions for convictions considered ‘spent’ under the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974. All motoring convictions must also be declared, although fixed penalty notices and parking tickets do not need to be mentioned.
Simon Vann, one of BASC’s firearms officers, said: “There may be a temptation not to mention convictions the applicant feels are not relevant or are so old as to be spent.
“But it is clear South Wales Police are now taking a hard-line stance and members are advised to ensure they accurately complete their application forms as per the legal requirement or face prosecution.
“Firearms laws clearly state it is an offence to knowingly or recklessly make a false statement in connection with the grant or renewal of a certificate.
“BASC advise applicants to plan in advance. If an applicant is unsure of the details of any conviction, it is possible to pay to the Criminal Records Office for a subject access disclosure, which details all information held about you on the Police National Computer. Applications can be made by post or online and the fee is currently £10.
“For the purposes of the firearms acts, there is no such thing as a spent conviction. Applicants must include all convictions, including all motoring offences except fixed penalty and parking tickets, whether still recorded on their driving licence or otherwise and whether in Britain or abroad.
“Informal cautions do not need to be mentioned, but formal written cautions and conditional or absolute discharges do.
“We are also advising members that it is not sufficient to write ‘please see your records’ or ‘as previous application’. There is no need to give full details of each offence, but the date and type of offence is required by law.”