The shooting season is now well underway across Fenland: to hold shotguns and firearms legally, whether it be for sport or pest control, you are required to have a valid certificate.
The burden of assessing applicants and issuing certificates falls on an already hard-pressed Police service in Cambridgeshire. Delays in issuing renewals, processing amendments or granting new certificates can often cause much angst in rural communities.
It is estimated the application fee for certificates covers, at best, just 20 percent of the actual costs of staffing the firearms team.
The more we can do as individuals to help certificates being granted or renewed in a timely fashion, the better it will be for all applicants who rely on this service to stay on the right side of the law.
Firstly, it is important to ensure applications are received in good time; the background checks are thorough and can take 8–10 weeks to be completed.
If you submit your application for a renewal before your old certificate runs out, then it means you stand a much better chance of not experiencing a delay in the new certificate being issued. This also applies to those applying for amendments or new licences: get the forms in before you purchase your new gun or rifle to ensure the checks are complete and the certificate issued.
Always double check your application to ensure the form is filled in correctly with all the required information.
This may seem like a rather basic and obvious thing to point out, but if you have made a mistake then it will slow the process down while the correct information is sought from you.
At the same time, make sure you have enclosed the correct money with your application form as issuing refunds or calling you to ask for the balance of payment hampers the officer’s ability to proceed with your certificate application.
Finally, one of the biggest causes of license revocation is identified problems with secure storage of shotguns and firearms.
Make sure all the guns are in the cabinet and the keys are not hanging with other household keys. If you are found by a visiting firearms officer to be in breach of this requirement then they will have no choice but to remove them from you.
By following these simple tips you can ensure that your plans for sport or pest control can continue uninterrupted.
For more information on shotgun/firearms licensing matters, contact the CLA East Regional Office on 01638 590429 or The British Association for Shooting and Conservation on 01244 573000.