According to BASC, the demands of Durham Police go beyond existing requirements set out both in law and Home Office guidance on firearms licensing.
At present, any medical conditions relevant to the applicant must be declared on the application form and these are then checked by the police in consultation with the applicant’s GP.
Under the new requirements, Durham Police is now asking that applicants submit a separate medical consent form and pay any fee charged by their GP themselves.
BASC’s director of firearms Bill Harriman said: “The new requirements offer no benefits to either applicants or to public safety; it is discriminatory against those who live in the Durham area, as those who live in adjoining force regions will not have to pay and it will increase delays in processing applications.
“Unfortunately Durham Police has an appalling record for its administration of firearms licensing. It missed clear opportunities to remove guns from Michael Atherton, who murdered three women before killing himself in 2012. In the ensuing enquiry Durham Police firearms licensing staff claimed they were unaware of Home Office guidance on licensing, which has been published for over 10 years. Durham Police has also had problems with corrupt licensing officers selling guns to the public.
“Adding new requirements for applicants which have no legal basis will not help to reform Durham Police’s record or performance.”