Increase in number of temporary gun permits
THAMES Valley Police (TVP) issued more temporary gun licenses in 2015 than in the previous five years, figures reveal.
Information obtained by the Countryside Alliance (CA) through a Freedom of Information (FoI) request show that 2,516 permits were issued in 2015, a 2,246 increase on the 270 in 2014.
The CA say temporary permits are only meant to be a stopgap measure and that this is is a ‘clear symptom of an inefficient licensing service’.
But TVP say there has been delay due to a ‘peak in renewal request due to changes some years ago in the length of time certificates are valid, an extensive flood in the department, and updates to the National Firearms Management Systems’.
TVP issued the third highest number of those police forces that responded to the FoI, and only Essex – 5,219 temporary licenses – and Kent – 3,008 from April 1 2015 to March 31 2016 – issued more.
It is also the highest number since 2010, which is as far back as the figures go, when TVP issued 793.
Cleveland came bottom of the table with none.
The CA said: “This inability to use authorised items because of the failure of the police is unacceptable, especially when you consider the results of the high numbers of Temporary Permits granted last year.”
Chairman of Gerrards Cross Town Council, Chris Brown, backed TVP and said their priorities were right while operating under a tight budget.
He said: “I can’t say I have a lot of sympathy with the so-called ‘shooting community’.
“With our police forces hard pressed on tight budgets, provided this does not pose any additional threat to the public, I would say they have got their priorities right.”
A TVP spokesperson said: “Thames Valley Police firearms licensing department is the second largest force nationally with an estimated 35,000 firearm and shot gun certificate holders.
“The department has taken measures to manage this including the appointment of additional staff and the licensing authority are issuing temporary permits to renewal applications that are received in good time and which cover continued possession and use. This is in accordance with the Home Office Guidance to Police.
“In addition to processing the grant and renewal of firearm and shot gun applications, the firearms licensing department is responsible for registered firearms dealers, home office clubs, explosives licensing and all the legal administration surrounding these areas and for the 24/7 monitoring of certificate holders in order to minimise the risk of avoidable harm. Last year there were 223 revocations and refusals resulting in 26 appeals at Crown Court.”