Hampshire Constabulary currently licences the 28,000 certificate holders who live in Hampshire & Isle of Wight (6,000 firearms and 22,000 shotguns), with the main priority for the Firearms Licensing Team being the maintenance of public safety through prevention of foreseeable or avoidable harm. This includes continuous monitoring for incidents involving existing certificate holders and completion of comprehensive background checks on all applications for the grant and renewal of certificates.
In order to safeguard the public and effectively manage our existing certificate holders, we need to focus on the monitoring and upkeep of their records, ensuring all certificates remain in force and possession of firearms, ammunition and shotguns remains lawful. Maintaining this area of business is resulting in our performance for new grant applications and other areas (change of address, variations etc) falling below the standard of service we seek to provide, and due to the volume of this renewal work, we are currently processing some new grant applications received in March 2016. We have implemented a “green light” system for straightforward shotgun and less complicated firearms grant applications, and this has improved our processes and sped things up for some applicants, but unfortunately not all.
This therefore means that there is still a delay of some weeks before we are in a position to process our grant applications and we are in the process of redefining our service level agreements for the future, and will publish these once we are confident that they are realistic and achievable.
Our Chief Officers and the Police & Crime Commissioner are now fully sighted on the issues that we are facing, and both are actively supporting and encouraging us in moving forward. We are putting in place working practices and being more scientific in our assessment of workload versus resourcing, the results of which will provide us with an enduring structure that will be fit for purpose.
As a result of an initial assessment of our needs, a number of temporary staff are being recruited, and these will assist us in dealing with our current volumes of work and provide additional skilled staff, some of whom we anticipate being able to retain as we move forward.
Please be aware that in order to provide a fair and equitable service to all our customers, all applications are dealt with in strict time order. If, however, you have a pressing need for your certificate - such as being a full time or apprentice gamekeeper or you are competing at a significant level in sporting events, please let us know and we will endeavour to prioritise your application.
In the case of new grant applications, we understand that you wish to fully participate in shooting activity; however, as outlined above, our priority must be the processing of renewals where there is a greater level of risk due to the potential for possession of unlicensed firearms.
We would like to remind you that you can continue to enjoy some shooting activity, including vermin control, as a non-licence holder through the exemptions of Sections 11(5) and 11(6) of the Firearms Act 1968 (covering shotguns) or Section 16 of the Firearms (Amendment) Act 1988 (covering firearms). Further information is available on this website or through your local established shooting organisation.
Our website has comprehensive information about firearms licensing within Hampshire & the Isle of Wight. If having read our content you still have a query, please email the team. For urgent enquiries, our lines are open between 10am and 12noon, Monday to Friday.
Please be assured that we are working hard to deal with your applications and are actively taking steps to improve our service. We apologise for any inconvenience caused.
Last updated: 17 October 2016