New policy on firearms licence applications
Kent Police is changing its firearms licencing policy in a bid to improve the safety of gun users and members of the public.
From Thursday 31 May 2018 every person who applies for a new firearms, shotgun or explosives licence will be required to provide medical information verified by a GP.
The new requirement will also apply to renewals of licenses with effect from 1 October 2018.
The medical information provided will be valid for five years to cover the length of the licence. There will not be a requirment to provide yearly information.
The change is being implemented to enable Kent Police to make informed decisions which will protect both gun users and the wider public.
Current Home Office guidance states that if a police force does not receive a response to their request for medical information from the applicant’s GP, they should assume there are no medical issues and grant the applicant a licence.
Temporary Assistant Chief Constable Steve Corbishley says the new approach provides greater protection:
‘It is a dangerous assumption to believe that just because someone has not provided verified medical information, that they are safe to own and use firearms, shotguns or explosives, and we are no longer prepared to accept that risk.
‘There are more than 27,000 Licences in Kent and the local shooting community are very responsible and we want to work together with them to ensure the safety of all.
‘We have a duty to protect every resident in the county and this new process will protect both licence holders and the public.”
Kent Police and Crime Commissioner Matthew Scott said: ‘It is incumbent on anyone who wishes to own or use a gun in our county to demonstrate they are medically fit to do so.
‘Previously I have worked with Kent Police to help address backlogs in processing firearms licence applications and that move was widely welcomed by the county’s shooting community. I hope they will support this measure too because, while I appreciate the new processes may cause some inconvenience, these rigorous checks should not slow down the application process and will make all of us safer in Kent.’
There is further information on our Firearms Licences page.