The safety of our communities is of paramount importance when considering the issue of firearms to police officers and firearms or explosives licences to members of the public.
We will take immediate action to protect life in a manner that balances the competing threats to the safety of the public, police and any suspects. In addition to conventional policing methods some situations justify the deployment of authorised firearms officers but we will do so in a manner that mitigates harm to the public and also increases the confidence and satisfaction of our communities.
Issue of Firearms to Police Officers
We will ensure that officers are only authorised to carry firearms and Tasers for operational purposes when they have:
- passed the Force standard selection procedure; and
- undergone training in accordance with the ACPO Manual of Guidance on the Management, Command and Deployment of Armed Officers, ACPO Armed Policing, NPIA and the National Police Firearms Training Curriculum.
Firearms can only be issued to Authorised Firearms Officers (AFOs) when the appropriate authority has been granted. The deployment of AFOs should only be authorised:
- where there is reason to suppose that a police officer may have to protect themselves or others from a person who is in possession of, or has immediate access to, a firearm or is otherwise so dangerous;
- as an operational contingency in a specific operation based on the threat assessment; or
- for the humane destruction of animals which are dangerous or are suffering unnecessarily.
Issue of Firearms Licences
As regards the issue of firearms and shotgun certificates to members of the public, we will:
- ensure relevant certificates are granted only to those who satisfy the statutory criteria;
- ensure holders of firearms certificates, shotguns certificates and registered dealers are subjected to scrutiny and review if they come to the adverse notice of any police force;
- refuse or revoke certificates, if appropriate; and
- seize firearms which:
1. may be used to commit criminal offences; or
2. present a potential danger to the public.
All applications to hold firearm and shotgun certificates will be dealt with expeditiously, in accordance with current firearms legislation. The decision will be based on the merits of each individual application. The same considerations and decision criteria will apply to all applications.
Issue of Explosives Licences
As regards the issue of explosives “Police Certificates,” we will ensure they are only issued to those:
- who are reliable and may be entrusted with explosives;
- who are experienced and competent in the safe handling of explosives;
- who have access to suitable storage facilities; and
- whose stores or premises are duly licensed or registered by the appropriate authority.
As regards the licensing and registration of stores, we will:
- ensure they are only issued where the premises:
1. have suitable site security;
2. are in the control of a suitable person; and
3. meet all the requirements of relevant regulations;
- inspect them at least once a year;
- maintain a register of all licensed explosives stores and premises; and
- make the register available for inspection by certain qualifying members of the public who live within the public consultation zones of any explosives store.
All applications for “Police Certificates” and the registration or licensing of stores will be dealt with expeditiously, in accordance with current legislation. The decision will be based on the merits of each individual application. The same considerations and decision criteria will apply to all applications.