A new text message system is set to improve firearms licensing procedures in the Thames Valley.

Thames Valley Police is pioneering a new text alert scheme to improve and speed up its firearms and shotgun licensing process.

The three-stage system will send a text to applicants once their application is first received and sent for process, a second message when the application has been referred to their local firearms enquiry officer and a third once the application has been approved.

Six month trial period

Thames Valley Police will be the first force in the country to pilot the system in a six-month trial.

BASC has praised the scheme for its potential to reduce delays in the licensing process by lessening the workload on firearms enquiry officers..

BASC firearms officer Paul Dale said: “One of the biggest complaints BASC receives from members is that they are not informed of the progress of their applications. In fact many forces do not even acknowledge receipt.

“This has a detrimental effect on the performance of firearms licensing departments as they then have to deal with telephone calls and emails from applicants querying what is happening. The introduction of the text notification scheme should reduce such queries to a minimum.”.

pile of paper

Firearms licensing in the Thames Valley

“What we know from experience is that widespread use of these [Section 7 permits] places an additional administrative demand on the Licensing Department which far from…

Firearms licensing procedures improvement

Zoey Evans, firearms and explosives licensing manager at Thames Valley Police, agreed: “We are hoping that this pilot scheme will improve our customer service to the shooting community by keeping applicants informed regarding the progress of their application..

“This new system will also reduce the need for applicants to make any calls and emails to the department regarding the status of their application, which will allow my staff to concentrate on turning applications around in accordance with our quality of service target.”