Medical involvement in firearms licensing

What is happening?

A number of police forces in England and Wales have breached Home Office guidance by imposing mandatory GP screening for all applications for shotgun, firearm and explosives certificates.

If your grant or renewal is with any of the police forces listed in the sections below, then you will need to involve your GP as per the instructions given by your police force; and your GP may charge a fee for this service.

If you do not follow your police force’s instructions for GP involvement then your application will not proceed.

If you find yourself being let down and delayed by an unhelpful GP during the firearms licensing process, you can make use of a new dedicated BASC service to ensure a speedy resolution.

The service links members with GPs to help secure medical verification. It will assist those members who are either unhappy with being charged exorbitant fees by their own GP or those facing delays because their GP is refusing to take part in the process.

Members who are struggling to secure GP assistance should contact BASC’s dedicated firearms team on 01244 573010.

What’s our position?

We are strongly opposed to the actions of these police forces and we are challenging these policy changes. We are working hard to find a political solution.

We want an efficient, cost-effective, robust system of firearms licensing that protects public safety and provides excellent service to the shooting community. We believe that all parties in the licensing process in England, Wales and Scotland should have statutory duties and must include GPs.

How can I help?

If you live within any of the police force areas listed below please write to your Police and Crime Commissioner to raise your concerns.

We want to hear from all members who have experienced problems with medical involvement in firearms licensing. This will help us find solutions to these problems.

England

Bedfordshire Police is making it mandatory for anyone applying for the grant or renewal of a shotgun, firearm or explosives certificate from 1st February 2020 onwards to have their medical declaration information verified by their GP confirming that they do not suffer any relevant medical conditions.

This policy change will also apply to all applications for registration as a firearms dealer.

This policy change is in breach of Home Office guidance and a reasonable GP fee has not been agreed with the medical authorities. Without such an agreement, firearm and shotgun certificate holders are at risk of being disadvantaged by GPs charging extortionate fees.

Note the following update from this police force in relation to the coronavirus outbreak.

We are aware that you may be experiencing delays in obtaining your medical proforma from your doctor.

Please continue to obtain your completed proforma prior to submitting your renewal application regardless of your expiry date.

We will not allow you to expire for this reason – if we have not received your application a week prior to your expiry date, we will extend your current certificate for a further 8 weeks and will confirm that we have done this via e-mail to you.

Following receipt of your completed proforma please forward with your application and we will process in the usual way.

 

Click here for more information on Bedfordshire Police

Cambridgeshire Constabulary is making it mandatory for anyone applying for the grant or renewal of a shotgun, firearm or explosives certificate from 1st February 2020 onwards to have their medical declaration information verified by their GP confirming that they do not suffer any relevant medical conditions.

This policy change will also apply to all applications for registration as a firearms dealer.

This policy change is in breach of Home Office guidance and a reasonable GP fee has not been agreed with the medical authorities. Without such an agreement, firearm and shotgun certificate holders are at risk of being disadvantaged by GPs charging extortionate fees.

Note the following update from this police force in relation to the coronavirus outbreak.

We are aware that you may be experiencing delays in obtaining your medical proforma from your doctor.

Please continue to obtain your completed proforma prior to submitting your renewal application regardless of your expiry date.

We will not allow you to expire for this reason – if we have not received your application a week prior to your expiry date, we will extend your current certificate for a further 8 weeks and will confirm that we have done this via e-mail to you.

Following receipt of your completed proforma please forward with your application and we will process in the usual way.

Click here for more information on Cambridgeshire Constabulary

Cheshire Constabulary has made it mandatory for anyone applying for the grant or renewal of a shotgun or firearm certificate to have their medical declaration information verified by their GP confirming that they do not suffer any relevant medical conditions. 

 

These policy changes are in breach of Home Office guidance and a reasonable GP fee has not been agreed with Local Medical Committees.  Without such an agreement firearm and shotgun certificate holders are at risk of being disadvantaged by GPs charging extortionate fees.

 

Click here for more information on Cheshire Constabulary

Derbyshire Constabulary has made it mandatory for anyone applying for the grant of a shotgun, firearm or explosives certificate to have their medical declaration information verified by their GP confirming that they do not suffer any relevant medical conditions.

This policy change will also apply to all applications to renew a shotgun, firearms or explosives certificate on or after 1 Feb 2020.

These policy changes are in breach of Home Office guidance and a reasonable GP fee has not been agreed with Local Medical Committees.  Without such an agreement firearm and shotgun certificate holders are at risk of being disadvantaged by GPs charging extortionate fees.

Click here for more information on Derbyshire Constabulary

Essex Police has made it mandatory for anyone applying for the grant of a shotgun, firearm or explosives certificate to have their medical declaration information verified by their GP confirming that they do not suffer any relevant medical conditions.

This policy change will also apply to all applications to renew a shotgun, firearms or explosives certificate on or after 1 Feb 2020.

These policy changes are in breach of Home Office guidance and a reasonable GP fee has not been agreed with Local Medical Committees.  Without such an agreement firearm and shotgun certificate holders are at risk of being disadvantaged by GPs charging extortionate fees.

Click here for more information on Essex Police

Gloucestershire Constabulary has made it mandatory for anyone applying for the grant of a shotgun, firearm or explosives certificate from 20 November 2019 onwards to have their medical declaration information verified by their GP confirming that they do not suffer any relevant medical conditions.

Since 1st January 2020 this policy change also applies to all applications to renew a shotgun, firearms or explosives certificate where the applicant has declared a relevant medical condition on their form. It does not apply to applicants who have never been diagnosed with or treated for any of the relevant medical conditions.

These policy changes are in breach of Home Office guidance and a reasonable GP fee has not been agreed with Local Medical Committees.  Without such an agreement firearm and shotgun certificate holders are at risk of being disadvantaged by GPs charging extortionate fees.

Greater Manchester Police has made it mandatory for anyone applying for the grant or renewal of a shotgun, firearm or explosives certificate to have their medical declaration information verified by their GP confirming that they do not suffer any relevant medical conditions.

This policy change breaches Home Office guidance and a reasonable GP fee has not been agreed with Local Medical Committees.  Without such an agreement firearm and shotgun certificate holders are at risk of being disadvantaged by GPs charging extortionate fees.

Click here for more information on Greater Manchester Police

Hertfordshire Constabulary is making it mandatory for anyone applying for the grant or renewal of a shotgun, firearm or explosives certificate from 1st April 2020 onwards to have their medical declaration information verified by their GP confirming that they do not suffer any relevant medical conditions.

This policy change will also apply to all applications for registration as a firearms dealer.

This policy change is in breach of Home Office guidance and a reasonable GP fee has not been agreed with the medical authorities. Without such an agreement, firearm and shotgun certificate holders are at risk of being disadvantaged by GPs charging extortionate fees.

Note the following update from this police force in relation to the coronavirus outbreak.

We are aware that you may be experiencing delays in obtaining your medical proforma from your doctor.

Please continue to obtain your completed proforma prior to submitting your renewal application regardless of your expiry date.

We will not allow you to expire for this reason – if we have not received your application a week prior to your expiry date, we will extend your current certificate for a further 8 weeks and will confirm that we have done this via e-mail to you.

Following receipt of your completed proforma please forward with your application and we will process in the usual way.

Click here for more information on Hertfordshire Constabulary

Kent Police has made it mandatory for anyone applying for the grant or renewal of a shotgun or firearm certificate to have their medical declaration information verified by their GP confirming that they do not suffer any relevant medical conditions. 

This policy change breaches Home Office guidance and a reasonable GP fee has not been agreed with Local Medical Committees.  Without such an agreement firearm and shotgun certificate holders are at risk of being disadvantaged by GPs charging extortionate fees.

Click here for more information on Kent Police

Lancashire Constabulary has made it mandatory for anyone applying for the grant or renewal of a shotgun, firearm or explosives certificate to provide a letter from their GP confirming that they do not suffer any relevant medical conditions.

In addition, Lancashire Constabulary has imposed a new requirement for the applicant to supply details of all occupants within their property.

These policy changes are in breach of Home Office guidance and a reasonable GP fee has not been agreed with Local Medical Committees.  Without such an agreement firearm and shotgun certificate holders are at risk of being disadvantaged by GPs charging extortionate fees.

Click here for more information on Lancashire Constabulary

Lincolnshire Police has made it mandatory for anyone applying for the grant or renewal of a shotgun, firearm or explosives certificate to have their medical declaration information verified by their GP.

This policy change breaches Home Office guidance.

Lincolnshire Police has worked with Local Medical Committees (LMC) and a fee of £40 – £50 plus VAT has been suggested by the LMC to GPs as “a reasonable fee for the initial factual report”.

Click here for more information on Lincolnshire Police

Merseyside Police has made it mandatory for anyone applying for the grant or renewal of a shotgun or firearm certificate to have their medical declaration information verified by their GP confirming that they do not suffer any relevant medical conditions. 

This policy change breaches Home Office guidance and a reasonable GP fee has not been agreed with Local Medical Committees.  Without such an agreement firearm and shotgun certificate holders are at risk of being disadvantaged by GPs charging extortionate fees.

Click here for more information on Merseyside Police

Nottinghamshire police has made it mandatory for anyone applying for the grant or renewal of a shotgun or firearm certificate to have their medical declaration information verified by their GP confirming that they do not suffer any relevant medical conditions.

This policy change breaches Home Office guidance and a reasonable GP fee has not been agreed with Local Medical Committees.  Without such an agreement firearm and shotgun certificate holders are at risk of being disadvantaged by GPs charging extortionate fees.

Note the following temporary change in relation to coronavirus.

Nottinghamshire police has announced changes around medical involvement in firearms licensing from 1 April 2020 onwards. Nottinghamshire police will accept an application for the renewal of a firearm or shotgun certificate without first submitting a medical verification form or report, if your GP is not able to provide this at this time. A report will still be required in the near future when your GP surgery returns to business as usual.

Click here for more information on these changes

South Yorkshire Police has made a policy change that affects applicants whose GP surgery responds to the initial police letter stating either that they are conscientious objectors or that the practice has decided not to participate in the medical information sharing process. If you are a BASC member and are affected by this policy change please contact our firearms team for advice.

Click here for more information on South Yorkshire Police

Surrey Police is making it mandatory for anyone applying for the grant or renewal of a shotgun, firearm or explosives certificate from 1 January 2020 onwards to have their medical declaration information verified by their GP confirming that they do not suffer any relevant medical conditions.

These policy changes are in breach of Home Office guidance and a reasonable GP fee has not been agreed with Local Medical Committees.  Without such an agreement firearm and shotgun certificate holders are at risk of being disadvantaged by GPs charging extortionate fees.

Click here for more information on Surrey Police

Sussex Police is making it mandatory for anyone applying for the grant or renewal of a shotgun, firearm or explosives certificate from 1 January 2020 onwards to have their medical declaration information verified by their GP confirming that they do not suffer any relevant medical conditions.

These policy changes are in breach of Home Office guidance and a reasonable GP fee has not been agreed with Local Medical Committees.  Without such an agreement firearm and shotgun certificate holders are at risk of being disadvantaged by GPs charging extortionate fees.

Click here for more information on Sussex Police

Thames Valley Police has made it mandatory for anyone applying for the grant or renewal of a shotgun or firearm certificate to have their medical declaration information verified by their GP confirming that they do not suffer any relevant medical conditions. 

These policy changes are in breach of Home Office guidance and a reasonable GP fee has not been agreed with Berkshire, Buckinghamshire & Oxfordshire Local Medical Committees.  Without such an agreement firearm and shotgun certificate holders are at risk of being disadvantaged by GPs charging extortionate fees.

COVID-19 update

Thames Valley police still requires a medical verification pro forma during the coronavirus outbreak.

Applicants are being advised at the start of the renewal process to contact either a private GP company or BASC.

Whilst they are obtaining this information the firearms licensing department will process their renewal.

Certificates will be renewed on the National Firearms Licensing Management System to authorise continued legal possession, but the certificate will not be physically issued until the GP documentation is received and the Government restrictions are lifted.

Some surgeries are now refusing to carry out this non-essential work and the 4 week legal timeframe restriction for a Subject Access Report has been lifted.

This effectively means that some surgeries will not supply Medcert, applicants or other private GP companies with the patients’ medical notes until at least June.

Applicants must make every effort to obtain this documentation during the renewal process.

Certificate holders will be sent either an email or letter at the end of the application process advising them that their certificate has been renewed and the process they will need to undertake if we have not received their GP documentation.

The above process will not apply to those that have declared a new relevant medical condition. These will be dealt separately by the public safety team.

Click here for more information on Thames Valley Police

Wales

South Wales/Dyfed Powys/North Wales Police is making it mandatory for anyone applying for the grant or renewal of a shotgun, firearm or explosives certificate from 1 April 2020 to have their medical information verified by their GP.

This change will also apply to all applications for registration as a firearms dealer.

This policy change is in breach of Home Office guidance, please see BASC’s new interim medical scheme.

Gwent Police has made it mandatory for anyone applying for the grant or renewal of a shotgun or firearm certificate to have their medical declaration information verified by their GP confirming that they do not suffer any relevant medical conditions.

This change will also apply to all applications for registration as a firearms dealer.

This policy change is in breach of Home Office guidance, please see BASC's new interim medical scheme.

Click here for more information on Gwent Police.

Dyfed Powys Police is making it mandatory for anyone applying for the grant or renewal of a shotgun, firearm or explosives certificate from 1 April 2020 to have their medical information verified by their GP.

This change will also apply to all applications for registration as a firearms dealer.

This policy change is in breach of Home Office guidance, please see BASC's new interim medical scheme.

Click here for more information on Dyfed Powys Police.

As of 24 March 2020 North Wales Police has temporarily suspended its plans to make it mandatory for anyone applying for the grant or renewal of a shotgun, firearm or explosives certificate to have their medical information verified by their GP.

The force has informed BASC that the reason for the temporary suspension is “to avoid placing any additional pressure on frontline medical practitioners and their teams due to the COVID 19 emergency”. 

Click here for more information on North Wales Police.

South Wales Police is making it mandatory for anyone applying for the grant or renewal of a shotgun, firearm or explosives certificate from 1 April 2020 to have their medical information verified by their GP. 

This change will also apply to all applications for registration as a firearms dealer.

This policy change is in breach of Home Office guidance, please see BASC's new interim medical scheme.

Click here for more information on South Wales Police.

Following the recent increase of independent medical reports, BASC’s director of firearms describes the solution put forward by BASC to ease the certificate application process.

Read more…

Members whose licensing applications are being delayed should contact the association’s firearms team.

Read more…

This webpage will be updated with any new developments on medical involvement in firearms licensing.

If you have any comments on this briefing click here to email us.

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