Opinion Former Article

BASC meets NI Auditor General on licensing issues

BASC has met Kieran Donnelly, Northern Ireland Comptroller and Auditor General, for a second time, to discuss firearms licensing issues.

The meeting, arranged by Patsy McGlone MLA, was organised after BASC received further complaints from individual and trade members about protracted delays and other issues relating to the licensing process.

Mr Donnelly is responsible for the external auditing of central government bodies, which can include ‘value for money’ analysis.

BASC NI Director Tommy Mayne said: “We had our first meeting with the Auditor General in October last year and we welcomed the opportunity to meet him again to share the frustrations of those whose main concern is the length of time taken by PSNI to process applications.

“Put simply, many of our members and trade members feel that the current licensing system does not provide value for money. We discussed a wide range of issues including delays and the need for paper and online applications to be treated equally. 

“Issues relating to accountability and transparency were also covered, however it would be inappropriate to comment further on our discussions with the Auditor until his team have completed their audit of Firearms and Explosives Branch which is expected to conclude at the end of this month.”

Mr McGlone, chairman of the NI Assembly’s All Party Group on Country Sports, said:  “We had a very constructive second meeting and I am confident that as a result of our combined efforts, Mr Donnelly will use his influence to reduce processing times and ensure service levels are improved.”

BASC will continue to work with elected representatives to ensure the PSNI is accountable and that the NI firearms licensing system ensures public safety, that it is efficient and that it provides value for money.

ENDS

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