Lincolnshire Police has announced that it has outsourced its firearms licensing operations to a private security company.

The change is part of a 10-year £200million deal under which G4S will provide a range of services to the force, including IT and custody services.

Firearms licensing manager Helen Wilkie told Sporting Gun magazine that though the responsibility for firearms licensing would remain with the police, firearms enquiry officers would now be employed by G4S.

She said: ?Over a period of two to three years, G4S will be looking to see how it can improve the service by bringing in new technology and taking a look at what is needed to be more productive and more efficient.

?Currently, for example, we need to look at several different systems to carry out checks on applicants and G4S will be investigating how we can reduce the amount of time and work involved in that. ?The priority will remain providing a good service to certificate holders and ensuring public safety.?

The deal is the widest-ranging outsourcing contract for any police force in the UK, and Shooting Times understands that at least 10 other similar-sized forces around the country are considering following Lincolnshire?s lead.

The rest of this article appears in the 4th April issue of Shooting Times.

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