A BASC white paper “Extending the duration of Firearm and Shotgun certificates” was launched at a meeting of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Shooting and Conservation in parliament today.
The white paper reviews the firearms licensing system and identifies problems in service, lack of compliance with the principles of better regulation, burdens on the police, peaks and troughs in the current five year licensing round and the adverse implications for public safety. It details the improvements to police information and reporting systems which, in many cases, are faster and better than were ever envisaged when the length of the current licence was increased from three to five years at the request of the police two decades ago. The document recommends the phased introduction of ten year certificates and lists the benefits to service levels, the reduced burden on police forces and improvements in public safety.
Alan Jarrett, Chairman of BASC said: “The firearms licensing system is one of the foundations of British shooting sports. BASC is at the forefront of thinking on the development of the licensing regime and I recommend this white paper to government and the police. The political window of opportunity is now and shouldn’t be missed.”
Richard Ali, Chief Executive of BASC said: “After twenty years, and given the developments in technology with consequent improvements in police information gathering, certificate holders are now monitored at all times rather than once in five years as they were in the last century. Extending the certificate length would meet the principles of better regulation that now underpin the business of government.”
Peter Glenser, the BASC Council member and a barrister specialising in firearms law, said: “Extending the length of the firearms certificates to ten years will remove the pressures, burdens, peaks and troughs within the system which should ensure greater efficiency, better service and with it; the improvement of public safety. “
In the document Chief Constable Andy Marsh, the national lead for firearms within the National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) gives qualified approval for the extension of the certificate term and lists improvements in medical monitoring, such as the “encoded reminder” being considered by the Home Office. He writes in the paper: “There is an opportunity, with appropriate supporting developments to deliver ten year certification without compromising on public safety and on that basis I will work towards that end in support of BASC’s proposal.”