Norfolk police revoke gun licences more than 450 times

Male hunter in the woods Picture: GETTY IMAGES

Male hunter in the woods Picture: GETTY IMAGES - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Police revoked the rights of 16 gun owners as Norfolk licenced the highest number of shotguns per capita in England in the past year.

Home Office figures show there are 6,567 shotguns registered for every 100,000 people in Norfolk as of March 31 this year.

But Norfolk police revoked 13 licences and refused to renew three.

In the same period, the force approved 535 new applications for firearm or shotgun licences but refused permission in seven cases.

Since 2008, when recording began, officers have approved 14,604 applications but revoked 451 licences and refused 33 applications for renewal.

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Following the recent mass shooting in Plymouth police forces have been urged to review their firearm application processes, including current vetting processes and whether they need to revisit existing licences.

Richard Kennett, firearms licensing manager with Norfolk and Suffolk Constabularies, said all new applicants for firearm and shotgun certificates are subject to vetting checks and a home visit and interview by a specialist firearms enquiry officer. 

Richard Kennett with some of the firearms handed in on day one of a surrender campaign. Picture: ARC

Richard Kennett, firearms licensing manager, with some of the firearms handed in during amnesty in 2017.

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“Before a certificate is issued we have to be satisfied that the applicant may possess firearms without danger to the public and that they have the necessary good reason,” he said.

“During the life of a certificate, the Firearms Licensing Unit continues to monitor certificate holders to identify those who come to adverse attention of police or where concerns are raised by the public or partner agencies. 

“Where necessary we will seize firearms and certificates and investigate issues of concern.”

Norfolk and Suffolk have more than 10 times the number of registered shotguns compared to those with the lowest numbers – Merseyside has 542 active licences, and 550 issued by the Metropolitan Police.

Also 72 children aged under 18 in Norfolk held certificates granting them permission to use shotguns or firearms as of March 31.

You can get a feel for shotgun shooting without needing a certificate – go out with a friend who is

British Association for Shooting and Conservation has called for a statutory obligation that would see a marker included on medical notes indicating whether a patient had access to guns. - Credit: Getty Images

The Government is 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.

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."

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