North Yorkshire Police’s decision to halt all firearm and shotgun certificate grants has been described as “a clear breach of their statutory duty” by the UK’s largest shooting organisation.
In correspondence with North Yorkshire MPs, the British Association for Shooting and Conservation (BASC), has asked that the force is scrutinised and that they resume all applications as a matter of urgency.
The move by force was made in a public statement by their firearms licensing manager, Detective Inspector Andy Palmer earlier this month.
He claimed that the department was facing significant delays because of new statutory guidance implemented on November 1.
In England and Wales, the process of firearms licensing lies with each constabulary, it is the responsibility of the Chief Officer to decide on the merit of each application.
Bill Harriman, BASC’s director of firearms, said: “The public are entitled to possess firearms providing they satisfy certain tests. Once the tests are passed, the Chief Officer must accept the application. Failure to do so is a clear breach of their statutory duty.
“Firearms certificates are crucial to rural jobs, conservation and the rural economy. The move by North Yorkshire Police is disadvantaging the shooting community who require firearms for their livelihoods and wish to partake in a legitimate sport.
“The statutory guidance has been in development for at least 18 months, its implementation did not come as a surprise to North Yorkshire Police. The decision to halt grants needs overturning with a matter of urgency.”
The force announced earlier this month that no new grant applications were being processed at this time.
Anyone renewing a firearms or shotgun licence would need to provide a medical report, the force said.
Firearms Licensing Manager Det Insp Andy Palmer said: “We are currently managing a high volume of renewals and we anticipate an increase in the number of people who cannot complete their application in time, due to the necessity of now having a complete medical report.
“If you have successfully submitted your renewal, then please be assured that we will contact you if anything else is needed. Please only contact our department if your query is urgent.
“Unfortunately, due to the change to the renewals process, no new grant applications are being processed at this time.
“I understand this may cause some frustration and disappointment for those who have already submitted an application however we want to let those individuals know we are working through these as quickly as we can, and you should hear from us no later than January 2022.”