Opinion Former Article

BASC welcomes positive talks with Thames Valley police chief over medical issue

BASC has welcomed a pledge by Thames Valley Police to immediately and urgently review its firearms licensing process.

BASC's firearms team manager Paul Dale met Assistant Chief Constable Tim De Meyer to discuss concerns about the force’s interpretation of Home Office guidance regarding medical involvement in firearms licensing.

The meeting followed BASC's meeting with Thames Valley's Police and Crime Commissioner last month.

Mr Dale said: “The discussions were very positive. The ACC thanked BASC for drawing the matter to his attention and acknowledged that there was potential disparity between Home Office guidance and Thames Valley's interpretation of that guidance.

“He has given an undertaking for an immediate and urgent review of Thames Valley’s processes and will report back."

In the meeting, Mr Dale challenged the content of letters currently being sent out by Thames Valley’s firearms department.

He said: "When GPs advise Thames Valley that they have requested a fee from an applicant to respond to the initial police medical letter, and the applicant has refused to pay, Thames Valley have been contacting the applicant to say that they are unable to progress the application. Furthermore, they go on to say that if they do not receive a report within 28 days the applicant’s form will be returned and the application recorded as incomplete."

Mr Dale highlighted to ACC De Meyer that an application should not simply be returned to an applicant and reiterated Home Office guidance which states that an applicant or certificate holder should not be disadvantaged, nor the application delayed, by a GP’s refusal to provide medical information.

Mr Dale added: "Firearms legislation is quite clear. It states that an application for a firearm or shotgun certificate shall be made in the prescribed form to the chief officer of police for the area in which the applicant resides and shall state such particulars as may be required by the form. So long as this requirement is met then the application is complete."

BASC met the Police and Crime Commissioner for Thames Valley last month to discuss concerns about the force’s interpretation of Home Office guidance regarding medical involvement in firearms licensing.

PCC Anthony Stansfeld gave an undertaking for immediate action, which included an urgent review of Thames Valley’s processes.

ENDS

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