Added by Freedom of Information Team on 29 January 2016 at 9:39
HMIC published its report Targeting the risk on 15th September 2015. It made a number of recommendations which required action by Chief Officers either immediately or within three months (i.e. by mid December). Please state in respect of each recommendation (see below) what action has been taken and the results, if available. If action has yet to be initiated or is incomplete please state when the recommendation is expected to be implemented and why it was delayed. In respect of recommendation 16 please state what the ‘current arrangements’ are.
Within three months, all chief constables should assess how well the governance of firearms licensing in his or her force meets the standards set out in Authorised Professional Practice. Chief constables of forces where the governance standards are not being complied with should put in place immediately the correct arrangements and procedures in order to meet the standards in full.
Within three months, all chief constables should assess the demand placed on their firearms licensing department and ensure it has the capacity to meet this demand and provide an efficient and effective service at all times.
Immediately, all chief constables should satisfy themselves that all appropriate action is being taken by their force with regard to ‘total expired’ licensing records.
Within three months, all chief constables should ensure that their arrangements in respect of the use of temporary permits are in accordance with the Home Office guidance; that temporary permits are properly recorded without delay on the National Firearms Licensing Management System; and that effective systems exist to ensure certificate holders are not permitted, at any time, to remain in unlawful possession of a firearm.
Immediately, all chief constables should ensure that effective arrangements are in place for the day-to-day management of Police National Computer error notifications on the National Firearms Licensing Management System, ensuring that the notification requirements are dealt with and that the National Firearms Licensing Management System record is successfully transferred to the Police National Computer.
Within three months, all chief constables should ensure that systems designed to identify, prior to police attendance, whether a reported incident involves or is at the address of a firearm certificate holder are in place and are always applied by staff dispatching officers to incidents; and that officers understand the risk assessment which they should be undertaking in such circumstances, and their power, when appropriate, to seize firearms and firearm certificates.
Within three months, all chief constables should ensure that their current arrangements for public engagement with regard to firearms licensing are practical, proportionate and well known. They need to enable the force to understand the experience of service users and other interested groups. Thereafter, all chief constables should introduce effective systems to consider the results of public engagement to inform the efficiency and effectiveness of their licensing arrangements.
National recommendation is that all forces should have governance structures in place. Avon and Somerset adopted this process when HMIC announced the thematic review and this has been in place for over a year.
Firearms licensing was reviewed as part of spending review some three years ago. We are currently in a high demand period due to a change in the length of time that a firearms certificate lasts. Performance is monitored by Criminal Justice Support Unit (CJSU).
Expired records are reviewed as part of ongoing process within the department and proactive action taken to ensure guns are lawfully secured if no applications received or secured by the constabulary.
Temporary permits only issued in line with home office guidance and kept to a minimum.
Error notifications are dealt with as part of review process within the department and dealt with on a regular basis it is a performance indicator on National Firearms Licensing Management Systems (NFLMS) and managed as part of core business.
The link between storm and NFLMS has been established for 5 years plus and all records are updated in to “ASSIST” and “storm” databases as changes take place. This information forms part of active decision making by the Force Incident Manager (FIM) involving our certificate holders addresses. Data downloads provide daily information to firearms licensing to provide 24/7 365 day monitoring of incidents.
Avon and Somerset have regular contact with the shooting community with quarterly meeting with representatives of shooting community chaired by a local Registered Firearms Dealer (RFD). We engage in game fairs and shows in partnership with Shooting trade national representatives British Association for Shooting and Conservation (BASC). Hold “meet the police” days at local dealership and clubs. Presented Operation Solitaire the national project with Special Branch (SB) in raising awareness of radicalisation.
FOI Reference: 1753/15