29 August 2023
The Police Federation of England and Wales (PFEW) welcomes the College of Policing (CoP) updating and developing a robust Authorised Professional Practice (APP) to ensure forces make effective firearms licensing decisions.
The PFEW believes the revised Firearms Licensing APP will help address the growing trend of gun enabled crime in Britain by enabling chief officers to follow a consistent approach to firearms licensing across the UK.
Acknowledging the changes in the Firearms Licensing APP, PFEW National Chair Steve Hartshorn said, “Firearms licensing is one of the key areas playing a vital role in maintaining public safety. The College’s revised Firearms Licensing APP will better guide and assist officers to assess and decide applications from the members of the public to own firearms. The guidance aims to support officers to help curtail misuse of firearms licences, which in turn should help prevent tragic incidents involving firearms licence holders.
“The revised APP, formulated on evidence-based practices, not only provides guidance to officers assessing applications but also puts the much needed onus on chief officers to take overall responsibility for firearms licensing decisions made by their force. This approach will ensure that firearms licensing decisions are made after a thorough risk analysis to reflect the public’s expectations and strengthen the confidence of communities the police serve and protect.
“As someone who was a firearms officer and PFEW’s firearms lead I recognise the enormous responsibility on officers to strike the right balance between ensuring public safety and respecting rights of lawful gun owners who use their firearms within legal and safety parameters. The College’s revised APP on firearms licences will help officers strike this balance and deliver a high-quality licensing service.”