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Police chief invests £460k to double FEO numbers

West Mercia Police and Crime commissioner (PCC) John Campion is investing almost £500,000 to tackle firearms licensing delays. 

PCC Campion has highlighted the experiences of communities facing delays, scrutinised the performance of the Firearms Licensing Unit and moved to provide significant resources to deliver change by investing £460,000 of additional funding to the unit. 

The PCC is backing plans to carry out a range of operational changes across West Mercia — which covers Herefordshire, Worcestershire and Shropshire — and include more than doubling the number of firearms enquiry officers (FEO). Nine additional officers have already been recruited. 

New positions have also been created to ensure greater oversight of cases to speed up the process. Changes will include the rollout of bespoke training for new roles within the department, which will help to ensure recruits are best equipped to understand the latest guidance and systems. 

BASC’s head of firearms Martin Parker welcomed the investment and told ST: “The Force has struggled recently in the processing of both renewals and grants. We therefore hope that the money will be wisely targeted in order to reduce these waiting times. BASC is always ready to support licensing departments and would be delighted to assist in any training requirements that the Force may require.” 

PCC Campion’s budget proposals were endorsed by the Police and Crime Panel on 8 February.