Durham firearm licence trial 'spots unsuitable applicants'

Durham Police badge Durham Police is inviting applicants to complete a voluntary questionnaire

Related Stories

A pilot to carry out more health checks on people applying for a firearms licence has revealed some people who would otherwise have been allowed one, police say.

Applicants can volunteer to let their GP give Durham Police relevant details about their mental and physical health.

Ch Insp Steve Ball said it was clear some had not been "particularly candid" about medical conditions in the past.

The force normally relies on people self-declaring such issues.

It is now expanding the trial to add a voluntary questionnaire asking the applicants themselves direct questions about whether they have a history of suicidal thoughts, depression, bi-polar disorder or other neurological conditions.

Fee opposition

GPs may charge what they wish for processing the paperwork and trial organisers suggest £25.

The Mayfair Shooting Centre in Sunderland opposes the fee, saying police can already contact GPs if they have concerns.

"Given that all doctors are notified when a person acquires a certificate - and their medical records are marked accordingly - we believe this is sufficient," a representative said.

Dr David Robinson, secretary of the Local Medical Council for County Durham and Darlington, which is running the pilot in partnership with the Durham force, said that despite being voluntary the pilot had seen about a 50% take-up.

"Some existing licence holders have identified physical or mental problems they should have been aware of before," he said.

"If we identify one person like that I think that the pilot is a success.

"The huge majority of people who apply are responsible and conscientious. It's the odd individual who slips through the system who harms themselves and others, that the police want to identify."

More on This Story

Related Stories

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites

BBC Tyne & Wear


Newcastle upon Tyne

9 °C 8 °C


  • Witley Court in Worcestershire Abandoned mansions

    What happened to England's lost stately homes?

  • Tray of beer being carried10 Things

    Beer is less likely to slosh than coffee, and other nuggets

  • Spoon and buckwheatSoul food

    The grain that tells you a lot about Russia's state of mind

  • Woman readingWeekendish

    The best reads you need to catch up on

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.