BASC is welcoming Thames Valley Police becoming the first force in the country to pilot a new text alert system for firearms and shotgun certificate applicants.
The three-stage system will keep applicants informed at key points and BASC hopes it will also reduce delays in the licensing process by lessening the workload on the force’s firearms licensing team.
When an application is first received and inputted onto the firearms licensing system the applicant will receive a text message stating that it has been received and sent for process.
Once necessary background checks have been undertaken and the file is sent out for enquiry, the applicant will receive a second message advising their application has been referred to their local firearms enquiry officer.
Finally, when an application has been approved, a message will be sent saying:’ Your certificate has been granted and posted.’
It is a six-month pilot scheme and applicants will be asked not to respond to the messages.
Paul Dale, one of BASC’s full-time firearms officers, said: “One of the biggest complaints BASC receives from members is that they are not informed of the progress of their applications. In fact many forces do not even acknowledge receipt.
“This has a detrimental effect on the performance of firearms licensing departments as they then have to deal with telephone calls and emails from applicants querying what is happening. The introduction of the text notification scheme should reduce such queries to a minimum.
“It is encouraging to see Thames Valley continuing their drive to improve customer service.
“By looking for ways to make technology work better for them, valuable time should be freed up for firearms licensing staff to concentrate on turning round applications in a timely fashion. This has to be good news for the shooting community in Thames Valley.”
Zoey Evans, firearms and explosives licensing manager at Thames Valley Police, said: “We are hoping that this pilot scheme will improve our customer service to the shooting community by keeping applicants informed regarding the progress of their application.
“This new system will also reduce the need for applicants to make any calls/emails to the department regarding the status of their application, which will allow my team to concentrate on turning applications around in accordance with our quality of service target.”