Firearms licensing 1196/15
Dated: 26 Jan 2016
Provision of information held by Northumbria Police made under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (the 'Act')
Thank you for your e mail dated 30 December 2015 in which you made a request for access to certain information which may be held by Northumbria Police.
As you may be aware the purpose of the Act is to allow a general right of access to information held at the time of a request, by a Public Authority (including the Police), subject to certain limitations and exemptions.
HMIC published its report Targeting the risk on 15th September 2015. It made a number of recommendations which required action by Chief Officers either immediately or within three months (ie by mid December). Please state in respect of each recommendation (see below) what action has been taken and the results, if available. If action has yet to be initiated or is incomplete please state when the recommendation is expected to be implemented and why it was delayed. In respect of recommendation 16 please state what the ‘current arrangements’ are.
Within three months, all chief constables should assess how well the governance of firearms licensing in his or her force meets the standards set out in Authorised Professional Practice. Chief constables of forces where the governance standards are not being complied with should put in place immediately the correct arrangements and procedures in order to meet the standards in full.
Within three months, all chief constables should assess the demand placed on their firearms licensing department and ensure it has the capacity to meet this demand and provide an efficient and effective service at all times.
Immediately, all chief constables should satisfy themselves that all appropriate action is being taken by their force with regard to ‘total expired’ licensing records.
Within three months, all chief constables should ensure that their arrangements in respect of the use of temporary permits are in accordance with the Home Office guidance; that temporary permits are properly recorded without delay on the National Firearms Licensing Management System; and that effective systems exist to ensure certificate holders are not permitted, at any time, to remain in unlawful possession of a firearm.
Immediately, all chief constables should ensure that effective arrangements are in place for the day-to-day management of Police National Computer error notifications on the National Firearms Licensing Management System, ensuring that the notification requirements are dealt with and that the National Firearms Licensing Management System record is successfully transferred to the Police National Computer.
Within three months, all chief constables should ensure that systems designed to identify, prior to police attendance, whether a reported incident involves or is at the address of a firearm certificate holder are in place and are always applied by staff dispatching officers to incidents; and that officers understand the risk assessment which they should be undertaking in such circumstances, and their power, when appropriate, to seize firearms and firearm certificates.
Within three months, all chief constables should ensure that their current arrangements for public engagement with regard to firearms licensing are practical, proportionate and well known. They need to enable the force to understand the experience of service users and other interested groups. Thereafter, all chief constables should introduce effective systems to consider the results of public engagement to inform the efficiency and effectiveness of their licensing arrangements
We have now had the opportunity to fully consider your request and I provide a response for your attention.
Following receipt of your request, searches were conducted with the Firearms Licensing Department of Northumbria Police. I can confirm that the information you have requested is held by Northumbria Police.
I am able to disclose the located information to you as follows.
Northumbria Police is compliant in relation to this recommendation. We have robust and rigorous processes.
Customer satisfaction is good across this business area. Training is thorough and performance is monitored effectively.
Demand and resilience is reviewed continuously to ensure the service we deliver is fit for purpose. Service delivery is considered efficient and effective by service users.
There are no expired licensing records in Northumbria. Internal processes provide advanced warning of expiry dates which are then properly managed.
Temporary permits are issued when required although in practice it is rare. Northumbria Police currently have two people in possession of temporary certificates, issued to enable the management of deceased certificate holders estates.
Effective arrangements are already embedded in normal business practice in Northumbria Police. PNC errors are dealt with immediately and none remain outstanding for any longer than is required for the necessary work to be completed.
Systems for this purpose are in place and used as normal business processes in Northumbria Police. Officers understand the risk assessment to be undertaken and the appropriate action to take with regard seizure of firearms and certificates. Advice
is available on demand 24/7. Procedures are published and can be accessed by all personnel.
We currently engage in a practical and proportionate way. On request we attend meetings and events. Records of satisfaction and dissatisfaction as well as our regular contact with National Organisations further inform our understanding of the efficiency and effectiveness of our licensing arrangements.
Additional considerations are subject of current discussion.
Due to the different methods of recording information across 43 forces, a specific response from one constabulary should not be seen as an indication of what information could be supplied (within cost) by another. Systems used for recording these figures are not generic, nor are the procedures used locally in capturing the data. For this reason responses between forces may differ, and should not be used for comparative purposes.
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The Disclosure Log will be updated once responses have been sent to the requester.
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