More than 55 members of the shooting community attended a Community Conversation event hosted by PCC John Campion in Hereford on Wednesday 2 August.
Bringing together the PCC, West Mercia Police and The British Association for Shooting and Conservation, the event was an opportunity to talk and listen to concerns about the length of time it’s taking to get or renew a firearms licence.
In March, the PCC announced his £200,000 investment to enable additional capacity within the firearms licensing unit (FLU) and address the backlogs – compounded by Covid, changes to the national licensing system and West Mercia being the area with the largest quantity of firearm holders in England and Wales.
However, some residents have not yet felt the benefit with more than 77 pieces of correspondence to the PCC over the past 18 months from disappointed residents.
Those concerns were addressed at the event with the PCC reassuring residents that he remains committed to supporting the force to ensure his investment delivers change.
Senior officers from West Mercia Police talked through the firearms licensing process, the current picture and their plans to help speed-up the process by using the PCC’s funding to introduce an online system and recruiting more staff.
They also welcomed the positive feedback from those who had gone through the process praising West Mercia Police’s open and helpful communication.
PCC John Campion said: “I would like to thank everyone who attended my latest Community Conversation event on firearms licensing. It was incredibly valuable hearing from people directly about exactly where the problems are as it allows the force and I to direct resources to those areas.
“I have heard loud and clear that many in our shooting communities are disappointed at the length of time it’s currently taking to get a new, or renewed, firearms licence.
“I am committed to playing my part to make a difference, which includes potential further investment into the FLU and lobbying the Government around improvements to the national IT systems that are used. I am reassured that West Mercia Police is making improvements and I will continue to support and challenge the Chief Constable to ensure change is delivered.”