BASC challenges illegal move by West Mercia Police

BASC’s head of firearms Bill Harriman has written to the Chief Constable of West Mercia Police to challenge its decision to make all applications for firearms and shotgun certificates online only.

The force announced this week that from 1 May printed applications would no longer be accepted.

In a letter to Chief Constable Alex Murray, BASC argued that the decision is illegal because firearms and shotgun certificate applications are statutory documents so legally, they can’t refuse to accept them.

The decision is also at odds with the government’s commitment that individuals who do not have access to the internet, should not be disadvantaged when dealing with public sector organisations. Furthermore, refusing to accept written applications is almost certainly indirect discrimination under the Equality Act 2010, as it penalises older certificate holders.

BASC will also be taking this up with the police at a national level with the National Police Chiefs’ Council.

Mr Harriman said:

“West Mercia’s documentation implied that BASC was consulted on this decision – nothing could be further from the truth.

“BASC has always supported online applications as being more efficient and providing a digital audit trail, but there should be provision for applicants who cannot apply online or would struggle to do so.

“We strongly challenge this move by West Mercia and we will be urging the force to reconsider this discriminatory and ill-thought-out decision.”