Ben Adams opens firearms licensing event

Staffordshire Commissioner seeks views of shooting community

Members of Staffordshire’s shooting community joined Staffordshire Commissioner for Police, Fire & Rescue and Crime Ben Adams, senior Police officers and the force’s firearms licensing team to discuss their experiences of the licence application process, and the impact of changes in legislation following the fatal shootings in Plymouth in 2021.

Attendees, including country sports business owners and licensed firearms dealers, heard about the additional checks now in place as part of the application process to ensure the public are protected from harm.

These include a requirement for a specific medical disclosure from the applicant’s GP, and ‘open source’ social media checks to ensure they are not displaying any concerning behaviour online.

There is also more contact and formal conversation with the applicant’s referee (the person vouching for them as being a fit and proper person to hold a certificate) as part of the process.

To meet these additional demands, Staffordshire Police’s firearms licensing team has grown from 17 to 27 staff, with the average time to process a firearms licence now between 44 and 68 days to allow the team time to complete all the necessary checks.

Staffordshire Commissioner Ben Adams said: “Firearms licensing supports agriculture and the leisure industries – both important contributors to the Staffordshire economy and to our rural communities.

“Delivering a safe, efficient and high-quality firearms licensing service not only ensures continuity for those businesses which rely upon legitimate firearms use but also, vitally, provides reassurance that the wider community is protected from any risks.

“The meeting was a good opportunity to talk openly about the progress Staffordshire Police is making to improve the licensing service, and the impact of regulatory change. Most importantly, it allowed myself, the licensing team and senior Police officers to hear about the experiences of those actually using the service.”

As well as discussing the time taken to process applications, the meeting also discussed the licence fee. Currently, Police forces across the country lose money every time a firearms licence application is processed, as the fee charged doesn’t fully cover the costs to the force of vetting the individual and the associated paperwork.

A national consultation is now underway to seek views on an increase in the licence fee to cover these costs.

Share this article
Our latest news, straight to your inbox.