The Home Office has begun tendering for a new system to replace the National Firearms Licence Management System in England and Wales.
Cumbria Police latest force to stop grant applications
BASC has labelled Cumbria Police’s announcement to cease accepting firearms and shotgun grant applications as a failure of duty and is calling on members to contact their political representatives.
Cumbria publicly announced the suspension of grant applications last month quoting ‘excessive delays’ as the reason. They state they will review their policy in January 2023.
Martin Parker, BASC head of firearms, said: “Cumbria’s public announcement is symptomatic of the failings being seen in firearms licensing departments across England and Wales. Again and again we are seeing grant applications being side-lined and new entrants to shooting are being unfairly blocked from participating through no fault of their own.
“The Home Office statistics show a decrease of 23,000 new grants over the past two years. We accept that Covid impacted licensing activities to an extent, but the failure to prioritise resources following the pandemic is having significant implications on individuals and businesses.
“We are further aware that in Cumbria delays in renewal applications are reaching breaking point with Section 7 temporary permits being heavily relied on. BASC has written to the Chief Constable raising our considerable concerns and suggesting potential emergency measures, such as declaring a critical incident within their firearms licensing department.”
What can be done to improve to improve firearms licensing?
The announcement from Cumbria, follows on from a suite of other licensing departments who are in a similar position.
Their decision to publicly announce the cessation of grants highlights the significant inconsistencies between forces and reinforces BASC’s call for major reform within firearms licensing in England and Wales.