21 April 2016 – The Countryside Alliance has revealed the full scale of inefficiency in firearms licensing departments nationwide after a series of Freedom of Information requests.
The data shows the number of section 7 temporary permits issued by police forces in the years 2010-2015.
Top of the table for section 7 permits is Essex Police, which issued a staggering 5,200 permits during 2015. Close behind is Kent Police, with 3,000 permits on issue that year, and Thames Valley, with 2,500.
On the flip side, both Cleveland and Derbyshire Police claimed not to have issued any section 7 permits – in Cleveland’s case they haven’t issued any since a one-off in 2011, while Derbyshire issued one in 2012 and two in the year after.
Section 7 permits are mostly issued to cover two sets of circumstances. The first is when a certificate holder dies and his estate needs permission to possess his firearms so they can be sold on. The other is when a certificate under renewal has expired without the police having issued a new one.
Broadly speaking, the number of section 7 permits issued reflects the force’s ability to operate efficiently by renewing firearm and shotgun certificates on time. The more permits issued, the less efficient the force.
The data can be viewed on the Countryside Alliance website. UK Shooting News will be doing some statistical analysis of the figures in due course.
30 police forces responded to the Countryside alliance, meaning 13 of the 43 police forces in England and Wales either refused to reply or simply did not reply at all. The CA advises shooters whose local force is not listed in the table to contact the police directly.