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Tackling firearms licensing delays is a top priority for Police and Crime Commissioner John Campion.

The PCC has continued to shine a light on the experiences of communities facing delays, scrutinise the performance of the Firearms Licensing Unit and has taken action by providing significant resources to deliver change.

To ensure progress is made without compromising public safety, the PCC has invested £460,000 of additional funding into the unit. To maximise the benefits of this investment, the PCC is backing West Mercia Police’s plans to carry out a range of operational changes.

More than doubling the number of Firearms Enquiry Officers, who carry out important enquiries and background checks, nine additional officers have already been recruited. New positions have also been created to ensure greater oversight of cases to speed up the process.

Changes will also see the rollout of bespoke training for new roles within the department, ensuring recruits are best equipped to understand the latest statutory guidance and systems.

Police and Crime Commissioner John Campion said: “I hear regularly from residents and local MPs about the firearms licensing delays that many in our shooting communities are experiencing.

“I am listening and remain committed to ensuring the additional investment I have made available to the force is speeding-up the process while maintaining a focus on public safety.

“I welcome the changes being introduced and will use all the powers available to me to support and challenge the Chief Constable on progress over the coming months.”

Chief Superintendent Gareth Morris said: “West Mercia Police covers a vast rural area with the highest number of firearms and shotgun certificate holders in the country. We welcome the investment in our Firearms Licensing Unit to continue to progress improvements in the process and ensure the highest-level scrutiny to firearms licensing.”