In­crease in num­ber of tem­po­rary gun per­mits

Buckinghamshire Advertiser - - NEWS -

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.”

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