South Yorkshire Police revoke 500 gun licences over 13 year period

Police revoked the rights of gun owners in South Yorkshire more than 500 times in 13 years, figures show.

Sunday, 29th August 2021, 2:38 pm

Following the recent mass shooting in Plymouth, police forces across England and Wales have been urged to review their firearm application processes.

Jake Davison killed five and wounded two others after having his gun licence reinstated just months after it was revoked following his involvement in a fight.

The 22-year-old also died in the incident.

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South Yorkshire Police has revoked gun licences more than 500 times over the last 13 years

In light of the gunman's deadly attack, the government is calling on forces to review their current vetting processes and look at whether they need to revisit existing licences.

Home Office figures show South Yorkshire Police revoked 47 licences and refused to renew eight in the year to March.

In the same period, the force approved 215 new applications for firearm or shotgun licences but refused permission in 11 cases.

Since 2008, when recording began, officers have approved 7,482 applications but revoked 510 licences and refused 39 applications for renewal.

A firearms certificate can be revoked for several reasons, including if a holder is deemed to present a danger to the public, is of “intemperate habits or unsound mind”, no longer has a good reason to possess a firearm or has failed to comply with conditions under which the certificate is held.

The data shows that more than 560,000 people across England and Wales held shotgun or firearm licences in March, including 8,636 in South Yorkshire.

The government is now preparing to publish statutory guidance in an effort to ensure “greater consistency and higher standards” of decision making around firearms licensing.

Changes are likely to include greater scrutiny of an applicant's internet and social media use.

But the British Association for Shooting and Conservation says the process has taken too long, with a spokesman adding that the organisation had warned successive government ministers of deadly consequences if stricter vetting processes were not implemented.

BASC is calling on the government to introduce a statutory obligation that would see a marker included on medical notes indicating whether a patient had access to guns.

Christopher Graffius, from BASC, said: “I have been calling for this since 2013 and have told ministers that we would end up with people dead, likely women.”

He added: “It is in the shooting community's interest to ensure public safety and it is absolutely awful to see tragedies like this.”

Gill Marshall-Andrews of the Gun Control Network said most licensed gun owners were law abiding, adding: “But what is clear is that the more guns there are in circulation the greater the chance of an atrocity like this one in Plymouth.

“We need much more oversight of gun owners in this country.”

A Home Office spokesperson said: “Incidents such as (the) horrific events in Plymouth are thankfully rare, but their impact is profound, not only on those directly affected but on the public as a whole.

“We constantly assess what sensible and proportionate steps we can take to help prevent such terrible loss of life happening.”

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