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Shotgun certificate renewals took even longer in 2020, BASC research shows

The figures have prompted calls for licensing to be dealt with on a national basis, rather than by county


The rules on borrowing and lending shotguns are clear

What is the current shotgun certificate renewal time?

The British Association for Shooting & Conservation (BASC) has just published research which shows that shotgun certificate (SGC) renewals are taking longer, an average of 49 days in 2020 (compared with 43 days in 2019) and firearms certificate (FAC) renewals 56 days, up from 50 days in 2019.

Applicants for FAC grants waited an average of two weeks more in 2020 compared to 2019 and shotgun certificate grants took 81 days on average in 2020 compared to 59 days in 2019.

Best performing areas

Shooters living in  Cambridgeshire*, Bedfordshire*, Hertfordshire*, Warwickshire (counties which use a single licensing department) and the Thames Valley benefitted from residing in the areas with the best performing forces whilst South Wales, Durham, West Midlands, Greater Manchester and Avon & Somerset were in the bottom five.

Coterminous renewals have increased up to 55 days from 48 in 2019. They were 46 in 2018 and 52 in 2017.

“Shockingly dreadful”

Bill Harriman, BASC’s director of firearms, said: “This current crop of figures reveals a wide spectrum of performance from the very good to the shockingly dreadful.

“Certificate holders in England and Wales face a postcode lottery as to the level of service that they will receive. This cannot be right when people pay for a service from the police. Consistency of performance needs to be achieved across the piece. It is interesting that those forces who have combined firearms licensing departments in alliances tend to perform better. This strongly suggests that the solution to the problem is for firearms licensing to be dealt with on a national basis.”

BASC firearms licensing table

Click to view a larger version of the table

Traffic light system

BASC has compiled the above table based on figures from 1 January 2020 to 31 December 2020, using a traffic light system to show relative performance. Green cells indicate above average performance, while red cells show below average performers. Yellow indicates average performance. Each cell shows the relevant average, recorded in calendar days.