Police temporary permit reliance raised in The Times

Firearms licensing application form

The Times (behind a paywall) has today reported on the significant reliance that some firearms licensing departments have on issuing Section 7 temporary permits.

The coverage based on work undertaken by BASC shows forces extending licences for up to 12 months instead of renewing them, as they suffer from backlogs and increased demand. An estimated seven forces have issued more than 1,000 temporary permits each.

The move is leaving certificate holders disadvantaged and without the ability to purchase ammunition. And in the wake of the Keyham inquest, which found a “seriously unsafe culture” within the Devon and Cornwall Police licensing unit, the finding leads to further questions about the state of firearms licensing across the 43 separate departments in England and Wales.

A police source who spoke to The Times revealed that the system was a “postcode lottery” and that there are concerns that some forces had even lost track of their temporary permit holders.

New Home Office firearms licensing guidance introduced last week states police forces should not be relying on temporary permits. It has given police forces until the summer to substantially reduce the number of permits issued. BASC will be holding those forces which have been routinely relying on temporary permits to account.

In speaking to The Times, BASC’s Martin Parker also raised the issue of the estimated 24,000 applicants still waiting for their certificates. BASC has heard of individuals waiting more than two years for an application, and has estimated the delays to be £50 million worth of business waiting to be done. The system is in disarray and action is required immediately.