The British Association for Shooting and Conservation (BASC) has met with Police Scotland to discuss firearms licensing delays. BASC members have reported delays of up to nine months when applications should be processed within eight to twelve weeks.
Chief Inspector, Fraser Lamb said; “Police Scotland recognises that there have unfortunately been delays in both the renewal and issue of firearms and shotgun certificates this year. New processes and procedures, including the training of over 500 locally based officers to deal with certificate enquiries, are now in place and this new capacity will assist in addressing any delays in processing.
“The Police are experiencing a busy period in the cycle of certificate renewals and these are being prioritised. On average ninety percent of renewals are being issued on time.”
He also confirmed that while the processing of applications will remain robust, and that public safety would remain paramount, there is no policy designed to reduce the numbers of certificates on issue, nor the numbers of firearms held on each certificate.
Dr Colin Shedden, director BASC Scotland, said; “It was useful to meet with Police Scotland and discuss in an open manner the genuine concerns of our members. Their main concern was that being in possession of a shotgun or firearm without a renewed certificate constituted a criminal offence. Police Scotland have recognised this and prioritised certificate renewals, as well as training more officers in firearms licensing. They have also assured us that they will address the other acute delays we identified at the meeting.
“Our advice to shotgun and firearm certificate holders is to respond to the reminder to renew their certificates as soon as they can and to email rather than telephone Police Scotland should they experience any difficulties. If that fails, members are encouraged to call BASC and we will progress the matter on their behalf. Police Scotland have assured us that they will do all they can to address any such problems.
“It is essential that such matters are resolved before the same licensing teams take on the responsibility of issuing air weapons certificates, to cover the estimated 500,000 airguns in Scotland, under legislation passed by Parliament last month.”
For more information, contact Colin Shedden on 01350 723 226 or 07770 990 222.