May 28, 2013

The granting of firearm certificates without sufficient security background checks.

Recently we were contacted by a whistle blower, who questioned us in respect of the grant of firearm certificates.  The informant told us of a man, who holds firearm/shotgun certificates, even though he has criminal convictions, including convictions for violence.  He managed to obtain both by the simple expedient of changing his name and obtaining a driving licence and passport in his new identity.  When he completed his application he used his new identity and stated he had never been known by another name.  He produced his new driving licence and/or passport and the background checks were made against the new identity.

Ironically, a staff member at “Whistle Blowers” was recently subjected to a background check for the renewal of both firearm/shotgun certificates.  He was asked to complete an application form and provide references.  He was then interviewed at his home address.  When the interview occurred, it transpired the applicant did most of the interviewing and established the following:- background checks are made against the information supplied on the application form and when interviewed the applicant is asked to supply proof of identity – a driving licence or a passport.  Referees provided by the applicant are rarely visited, let alone interviewed.  The grant of the firearm certificate is not dependant on the applicant providing fingerprints or a DNA sample.

If this is the ACPO policy in respect of the grant of firearm/shotgun certificates, then the policy makers need to be held to account – fingerprints and DNA samples should be mandatory for the grant of a firearm/shotgun certificate.

We are investigating the matter but if you are the person, who contacted us, we need to speak to you again.  If you have recently applied for a firearm or shotgun certificate we would like to hear from you.  We are liaising with the police to close this loop-hole.


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