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In a move to boost the accessibility of firearms licensing officers in West Mercia, Police and Crime Commissioner John Campion has given the green light on a £260,000 investment.

Helping to tackle the current delays, more than a quarter of a million pounds will fund additional vehicles for the Firearms Licensing Unit.

This investment will support firearms licensing officers to undertake home and business visits more efficiently – an important stage before a licence can be granted – as well as improving access to the most rural parts of West Mercia.

The latest announcement follows news that the PCC has made £1 million available to West Mercia Police to fund new and replace some existing vehicles in its frontline fleet.

Police and Crime Commissioner John Campion said: “I have heard loud and clear from our firearms communities about the delays they are experiencing, so I will continue to back West Mercia Police with the resources it needs to address them.

“After making an additional £200,000 available in March to increase the number of officers in the Firearms Licensing Unit, this further investment will support the growing team to access all parts of West Mercia more efficiently. 

“Ultimately, it’s important that this investment delivers benefits that our communities can feel. I will continue to use all the powers available to me to support and challenge West Mercia Police to make the improvements communities are calling for.”

Temporary Assistant Chief Constable Grant Wills said: “We welcome the additional investment in our Firearms Licensing Unit. West Mercia Police covers a vast rural area with the highest number of firearms and shotgun certificate holders in the country. As the public would expect it is absolutely crucial we ensure the highest level of scrutiny to firearms licensing and recent important changes to the legislation has seen an increase in what is required to grant license or certificate. Our officers and staff are working hard to provide a quality service that protects people from harm and the additional investment will undoubtedly help us continue to progress improvements in the process.”

Five vehicles will be purchased immediately, and an additional five are subject to approval in the 2024/25 financial year.