New firearms licensing database can “significantly improve the service”, says BASC

The announcement that the Home Office has begun tendering for a system to replace England and Wales’ firearms licensing database has been received enthusiastically by the UK’s largest shooting organisation, the British Association for Shooting and Conservation (BASC).

First reported in The Register, the pre-procurement notice will start the process of replacing the National Firearms Licence Management System (NFLMS). The Home Office is expecting to pay up to £20 million for a new system and it will be expected to be in place within five years.

The Home Office describes NFLMS as “relatively unchanged for 15 years” and “a challenge to change and adapt as requirements, technology, legislation and/or policy changes”. The notice says the new system will have to be “flexible, adaptable to change and future refinement”.

Bill Harriman, BASC’s director of firearms, said a new system was long overdue.

He said: “It is essential that any new system undertakes a significant data cleanse with particular focus on firearm details and duplications, introduces efficient training for licensing officers and interfaces with existing databases. If implemented correctly, the new system has the potential to significantly improve the service provided to the shooting community.”