POLICE are carrying out a major review of firearms licences in Wigan.
It follows investigations which suggested that some across Greater Manchester had been unwisely awarded. A senior member of staff at the force’s Firearms Licensing Unit has been suspended as a result.
The review arose after investigations by the Independent Police Complaints Commission flagged up concerns into licensing procedures in other forces.
As part of that work, a sample of approximately 100 existing licences has been looked at. A small number of these cases raised concerns in relation to the appropriateness of some of the decisions made.
Additional staff have now been brought into the unit to begin a full review of all 11,000 firearms licences held in the GMP area, and to ensure that the usual day to day work of the department, reviewing existing licences and processing new requests, can continue to operate as normal.
Additional training is also being provided to staff in the unit and extra safeguarding measures are being built into the application process.
Assistant Chief Constable Ian Wiggett said: “In response to learning from reviews in other forces, and revisions made to national guidelines for granting firearms licences, we wanted to be confident that our processes were robust. We examined a sample of our existing licences, and a small number of these raised concerns to us about some of the decisions made during the application process.
“We will not be complacent when it comes to public safety. If we find cases that do not meet the strict criteria for a licence to be granted, then we will look to secure firearms and revoke licences where necessary. I would also like to reassure existing firearms licence holders that as long as you have acted, and continue to act, within the law and the guidance that is given to licence holders, then you will not be affected by this review.”
Any firearms licence holders with queries on this matter are asked to contact GMP by emailing FirearmsandExplosivesUnit@gmp.pnn.police.uk