As The Land of Hope and Glory continues is metamorphosis into The Nanny State from Hell, the Oxbridge Powers that Be rely more and more on the joys of jargon to sweeten the bitter pill of socialism. Or something like that. But at least you had a fighting chance of understanding what I was talking about. Not so much with this press release from the Bedfordshire Police and Hertfordshire Constabulary (that’s police to you and me), flagged by the unflaggingly cheerful Marie at plainenglish.co.uk . . .
Not to go all Rosebud on you (it’s his sled), the Old Bill’s trying to notify the general public that they’re now going to renew shotgun licenses by post (that’s mail to you and me). The change removes the home visit part of the program.
Post-Hungerford spree killing, that idea has lead balloon written all over it. A fact which did not escape the attention of the BBC or shotgun licensees, as we reported in a previous post. The problem here: what exactly will trigger (so to speak) a knock on a UK shotgun owner’s door at 3pm (just in time for tea!)? Ah, that would be telling . . .
Collaborative initiatives between Bedfordshire Police and Hertfordshire Constabulary have succeeded in delivering enhanced services, whilst realising considerable efficiencies in a number of areas.
Firearms Licensing is one of several functions that has been reviewed and proposals have been developed for joint working, with a collaborative unit due to be established at the start of March.
With a view to carrying out this function in the most effective and efficient way possible, the proposals include the withdrawal of routine home visits to people renewing their licences, an approach which has already been adopted by a number of forces across the country. The new approach will see the introduction of a risk-assessed process where enhanced intelligence checks will identify those who should receive a home visit. In addition a programme of random visits to licence holders will be introduced without waiting for the expiry of their current licence.
We will continue to be robust in our monitoring systems and seek to take action to revoke licences and remove weapons from anyone who poses a threat to public safety at the earliest opportunity and not wait for the five year renewal process.
No changes are proposed in the detailed checks, which include home visits, we carry out when considering an initial application for a licence.
Research by the Collaboration Team has shown that across a sample of representative forces only 0.2% of licence holders had their licence revoked for any reason.
At a time of significant reductions in police funding it is important that we review those areas where processes can be refined and savings made without impacting on public safety.
Currently Firearms Licensing is subsidised by non-licence holders as the fees for licences only provide for 16% of the cost of providing the service. These fees are nationally set and cannot be altered locally. Whilst this is being examined by the Home Office we need to make best use of public funds.
The new approach will provide the public of Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire with a robust service that delivers more timely, risk-assessed interventions to continue to ensure public safety whilst also saving money.