BASC has accused a Welsh police force of circumventing Home Office guidelines, after one it admitted passing on the cost of GPs? inquiries to applicants rather than paying for them itself.
The situation came to light after a BASC member, who had taken three weeks off work due to stress, received a letter from Dyfed-Powys Police stating: Dyfed-Powys Police will no longer meet the invoice cost of GPs? letters and therefore any cost of this report will now be a matter between yourself and your GP.
BASC firearms officer Alan Booth told Shooting Times: ?This is quite clearly against Home Office guidelines, which says that the cost should be met by police. It is totally out of line with all the other police forces around the country. When I spoke with the firearms licensing manager Helen Rees (at the force, she immediately told me it was due to cost-cutting.?
BASC believes that many other police forces which are also looking to cut costs could now follow Dyfed-Powys?s lead.
Alan Booth said: ?It is important to make a stand before this becomes common practice. If Dyfed-Powys gets away with it, it?ll creep round the country. Neighbouring forces especially will be watching to see how this goes, and if no-one kicks up a stink about it, then they will do it too. Police want medical reports, but they object to paying for them.?
Alan Booth also pointed out that Home Office guidance clearly states that approaches to the applicant?s doctor should not be made as routine.
He said: ?BASC has always taken the view that because forces have to pay for these reports, the less likely they are to request them. But if they are now dumping the cost on to the applicant, they will ask for them all the time, because they won?t be the ones paying.?