BASC has welcomed Thames Valley Police’s implementation of a text alert system for firearms and shotgun certificate applicants following a successful trial period.

The force was the first in the country to pilot the scheme last year and BASC is now calling for it to be introduced by other forces.

Paul Dale, BASC’s firearms team manager, said: “One of the biggest complaints BASC receives from members is that they are not informed of the progress of their applications. In fact, many forces do not even acknowledge receipt.

“This has a detrimental effect on the performance of firearms licensing departments as they then have to deal with telephone calls and emails from applicants querying what is happening. The introduction of the text notification scheme appears to have reduced such queries. We are heartened to see Thames Valley’s efforts to improve customer service.

“By looking for ways to make technology work better for them, firearms licensing staff should be freed up to concentrate on turning round applications in a timely fashion. This has to be good news for the shooting community in Thames Valley and it is a system that other forces should consider introducing.”

The three-stage system keeps applicants informed at key points and appears to have reduced delays by lessening the workload on the force’s firearms licensing team.

When an application is first received and inputted onto the licensing system, the applicant receives a text message stating that it has been received and sent for processing.

Once background checks have been undertaken and the file is sent out for enquiry, the applicant receives a second message advising their application is with a local firearms enquiry officer.

Finally, when an application has been approved, a message is sent saying: ‘Your certificate has been granted and posted’.

Garry Doolan

Garry Doolan is BASC’s deputy director of communications and public affairs. He has more than 20 years experience of journalism and the media. He joined the organisation in 2016 and is a keen shooter and beater, with his springer spaniel Quincy.

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