As ever, it's a postcode lottery, with some areas performing better and others worse than before.
As in our last report, the City of London offers the shortest waiting times for receiving a new (or renewal of a shotgun certificate). Apply there and you can expect results in nine days, although previously it took five and three days respectively.
The tables below were created by the British Association of Shooting & Conservation (BASC) who gained figures for firearm and shotgun certificate grants and renewals, coterminous renewals and variations.
What the tables show
- The average for firearm certificate grants is 69 calendar days (down from 88 days)
- Shotgun certificate grants were an average of 68 days in 2017 (down from 86 days)
- Firearm certificate renewals took an average 53 days
- Shotgun certificate renewals dropped from 63 days in 2016 to 43 days.
- In 2016 when figures were published, BASC worked with several police forces to try and improve performance. However, with Home Office consultations and medical procedure issues, the services of some forces have declined.
- Lincolnshire and South Wales have shown worsening performance. Merseyside has added almost a month to the time it takes to grant certificates.
- An extraordinary 100 days has been added to the time it takes to renew a firearm certificate in South Wales. The same force now needs almost double the time it required the previous year to process a shotgun renewal.
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- Get your renewal application in at least 12 weeks before your certificate is due to expire. Do not wait for a police reminder letter (you may not receive one anyway, depending on where you live).
- You can download a firearm/shotgun certificate renewal form here.
- On the renewal form you must give details of any convictions. This includes motoring offences (including speeding offences), bindovers, formal written cautions and convictions in and outside Great Britain. However parking offences and fixed penalty notices do not need to be declared.
- It may speed up your renewal application if you include a photocopy of your existing certificates. You do not need to return the expiring certificates.
- Your renewal form will need to be countersigned. The countersignatory should be an MP, JP, Minister of Religion, doctor, lawyer, established civil servant, bank officer or person of similar standing who has known you personally for at least two years.
- If you possess a shotgun or rifle it is advisable to belong to one of the shooting organisations (like BASC). They offer good specialist advice and can put you in touch with an expert in firearms law should you have any problems renewing your shotgun certificate.
- Keep your original certificates with you whilst waiting to receive the renewals. You will need them to buy ammunition and prove lawful possession of your guns.
The research was co-ordinated by BASC firearms officer Rory O’Loughlin, who said: “We would like to congratulate certain police forces that have achieved significant reductions in turnaround times namely Warwickshire and West Mercia, Essex, Hampshire, Greater Manchester and Thames Valley.
“BASC will continue to work with firearms licensing departments to offer support and advice to secure an efficient, cost-effective and robust system of licensing that protects public safety and provides excellent service to the shooting community.”