The home of Shooting Times and Sporting Gun

What do PCC results mean for UK firearms licensing?

The results are in — and the majority of the newly elected Police and Crime Commissioners say they are in favour of shooting, says BASC.

Almost 75% of newly elected Police and Crime Commissioners across England and Wales support shooting, according to BASC, which sought to establish the new incumbents’ views. 

PCCs are important in influencing the efficiency of firearms licensing in their areas. This is because chief constables, who are responsible for firearms licensing, are accountable to PCCs. In addition, PCCs produce the budget and policing plan for their areas, which include resources for firearms licensing departments and their operation. 

Ahead of the elections, which took place in early May, BASC wrote to the PCC candidates in 40 constituencies. It also encouraged its members and the wider shooting community to follow suit (How will your PCC deal with licensing?, 10 April). 

BASC’s campaign aimed to establish PCC candidates’ support and assurances that their firearms licensing department would process grants and renewals within 17 weeks. It sought confirmation that they would set up an Independent Advisory Group for firearms owners and the police, as recommended in the College of Policing’s Authorised Professional Practice. 

The information gathered determined that of the 40 elected PCCs, 28 declared themselves as supportive of shooting and the other 12 did not reply. Of those 28, 22 said they would wish for their force to process grants and renewals within 17 weeks. Furthermore, 19 PCCs responded saying they would encourage the setting up of an Independent Advisory Group in their force area. 

BASC will now follow up by meeting with the new PCCs to discuss the situation in their constabularies, prioritising 12 areas where firearms licensing is particularly inefficient. 

Secretary of the British Shooting Sports Council Graham Downing told Shooting Times: “It was encouraging to see that 28 out of the 40 elected Police and Crime Commissioners declared support for shooting sports. The police are a key public agency responsible for firearms licensing and it is important that the staff and resources allocated for this purpose within each force are sufficient to deliver an efficient and agile service to certificate holders. 

“Our next step must be to see that PCCs deliver on their pledges to ensure that their forces achieve acceptable grant and renewal turnaround times, and that they ensure the delivery of stakeholder consultation bodies, which will enable the voice of shooting sports and the gun trade to be heard at local force level.”