HMIC inspection of firearms licensing report due next week

Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary will be publishing its report into the state of firearms licensing next week, UK Shooting News has been told.

The report, titled “Targeting the Risk”, looks at how the firearms licensing process is carried out in 11 police forces. These are:

·         Dyfed Powys Police;

·         Dorset Police;

·         Warwickshire Police;

·         West Mercia Police;

·         Cumbria Constabulary;

·         Durham Constabulary;

·         North Yorkshire Police;

·         Lincolnshire Police;

·         Surrey Police;

·         Sussex Police; and

·         Essex Police.

HMIC stated that although there would not be individual reports on each force, the report would include specific findings and detail relating to each named force’s firearms licensing department (FLD).

Regular UKSN readers will remember that Dyfed-Powys Police’s FLD publicly promised to obey the Home Office Guidance back in February, having stated their intent to ignore it in 2011. It seems that the appearance of HMIC forced police managers to back down.

Durham Police was very heavily criticised by a coroner for re-arming Michael Atherton, who murdered his entire family and himself in the 2011 Cumbria murders. Many anecdotes have reached UKSN’s ears since about hugely extended waiting times and occasions where Durham Police have simply sat on applications and variations, neither rejecting them nor putting them through. The verdict on Durham will be interesting to see.

Essex Police recently charged one of its managers with unlawful possession of firearms.

North Yorkshire Police, meanwhile, is the very model of an open and engaged FLD which serves its customers well, holding open days and engaging with the licensed firearms community through social media and even live webcasts.

Surrey Police, home to various national governing bodies and the National Shooting Centre, will have had an interesting input into the report thanks to the sheer number of transactions it must handle.

UKSN will republish the report upon its release, along with commentary.

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