The national Association of Police and Crime Commissioners (APCC) has launched a public survey looking at potential changes to the licensing of firearms and shotguns in England and Wales.
The topic is particularly pertinent in the South West following the tragic shootings at Keyham in Plymouth last month where five people lost their lives.
Alison Hernandez, Police and Crime Commissioner for Devon, Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly, has urged people in the South West to take part in the short survey, which takes just a few minutes to complete.
Commissioner Hernandez said: “No one in Devon and Cornwall will ever forget the tragic events of August 12 in Plymouth, least of all the friends and families of those who lost their lives. An inquiry has been launched into the circumstances of the incident and the results of this will be released in due course.
“The Home Office is currently reviewing arrangements for the licensing of guns and will shortly be introducing new statutory guidance to be followed by all police forces – and we want to know what people think about the existing rules.
“I’ve worked closely with other Police and Crime Commissioners around the UK to make sure the public’s voice is heard. We want to hear all from sides including people who are, or have previously been, a registered firearms licence or shotgun certificate holder.”
Chair of the Association of Police and Crime Commissioners Marc Jones said: “There has been heightened public concern following the recent shooting of five people in Plymouth. I’d like to take this opportunity to extend my sympathies to all those affected by that tragic incident, and indeed to all victims of gun crime.
“Police and Crime Commissioners are elected to be the public’s voice in policing and so we want to hear what the public thinks about these issues, so we can feed those views to the Home Office.”
The APCC’s short survey asks for the public’s views on things like the amount of scrutiny of medical records and social media posts that police should consider when granting or renewing a licence; and whether or not an applicant should pay the full costs of having their request processed.
Mr Jones added: “The public may be surprised to hear that there are more than half a million licence holders in England and Wales, who legally own nearly two million firearms. We know the overwhelming majority do so safely and responsibly.
“So, while it is absolutely right that we have a discussion on licensing, we should be careful to ensure any changes to guidance or legislation are proportionate, reflect the public’s views, and above all are effective at keeping people safe.”
The survey will remain open until Wednesday 20 October and can be accessed here https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/5J7PV2K.