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Montey

BBC Country file certificate renewal

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 Unusually I watched country file last night It had a piece on Lincolnshire police  refusing to renew FAC or shotgun certificates if there is no GP medical report . There was an interview with a medical person who stated that prescription drugs  prescribed for asthma  may be a reason for refusal or diabetes once diagnosed could also be a reason for refusal .  

 To get the full picture of the piece it would be worth watching on iPlayer  

An interview with the countryside alliance representative  didn't seem to give any advice on what to do if there was a refusal or if one was dealing with an anti-shooting GP !  Their advice was not to pay for the GP report at least that's my tacke on the piece.  I for one  did not realise that treatments for quite common conditions especially in the older age group may be grounds for refusal !!

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Yes, i was a bit surprised at that, I thought this was about mental health. Unintented consequences and/or doctors building their part (GOD ++) ?  Have there been any incidents that have arisen because someone had too many puffs on their inhaler ?? 

I was not impressed by the Countryside Alliance guy (yet again, but I am biased ever since the CA tried to throw us shooters under the bus to save Fox Hunting - pretty clear in my twisted head that it is just a front for the 'unspeakable'), refuse to provide a medical cert and the Police will just decline to grant/renew and it's your own fault. Who does that benefit ?? Should have had BASC on....

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That's all false news!  You cannot be refused a certificate if a GP fails to provide a medical report AFAIK. Advice from BASC stresses this.  They have 21 days after which the police cannot refuse a renewal unless they have evidence to support a refusal.

I don't bother watching Countryfile any more as the BBC's left wing and anti shooting/bloodsports agendas have infiltrated even this show.  That plus I was sick and tired of watching a self-centred Adam Henson whittle on about "my farm" this and "my farm" that! (and the fact that licence payers funded a holiday of a lifetime for him to NZ recently).  I'm now ashamed to think that I appeared on that programme myself a few years ago.

The thing that surprised me about the renewal process is that the police will now write to your GP informing them that a certificate has been granted and in doing so, breach your human rights to a private life.  It is plainly a fishing exercise following a GP being reasonably requested for details if any medical condition which could affect a candidate's suitability to posses firearms or shotguns, the idea being that even if the GP doesn't submit a report, they will be informed anyway as a catch-all in case something later crops up.

Now, what if like many GPs, yours is anti bloodsports or anti fire-arms?  There is clearly a conflict of interest in patient-doctor confidentiality here whereby you may not get the level of treatment expected if a doctor has a bias against you, something clearly against current BMA guidelines on inpartiality of treatment.

Whilst it is understandable for us to reasonably expect certain medical checks to be undertaken, as per usual, the whole process is open to abuse by certain forces who will look on it as just another opportunity to remove firearms from public ownership.

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18 minutes ago, VarmLR said:

That's all false news!  You cannot be refused a certificate if a GP fails to provide a medical report AFAIK. Advice from BASC stresses this.  They have 21 days after which the police cannot refuse a renewal unless they have evidence to support a refusal.

I don't bother watching Countryfile any more as the BBC's left wing and anti shooting/bloodsports agendas have infiltrated even this show.  That plus I was sick and tired of watching a self-centred Adam Henson whittle on about "my farm" this and "my farm" that! (and the fact that licence payers funded a holiday of a lifetime for him to NZ recently).  I'm now ashamed to think that I appeared on that programme myself a few years ago.

The thing that surprised me about the renewal process is that the police will now write to your GP informing them that a certificate has been granted and in doing so, breach your human rights to a private life.  It is plainly a fishing exercise following a GP being reasonably requested for details if any medical condition which could affect a candidate's suitability to posses firearms or shotguns, the idea being that even if the GP doesn't submit a report, they will be informed anyway as a catch-all in case something later crops up.

Now, what if like many GPs, yours is anti bloodsports or anti fire-arms?  There is clearly a conflict of interest in patient-doctor confidentiality here whereby you may not get the level of treatment expected if a doctor has a bias against you, something clearly against current BMA guidelines on inpartiality of treatment.

Whilst it is understandable for us to reasonably expect certain medical checks to be undertaken, as per usual, the whole process is open to abuse by certain forces who will look on it as just another opportunity to remove firearms from public ownership.

+1 

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I did  mention I hardly ever watch country file for the same reasons they are very biased against shooting and country sports.  What caused the concern to me that the police statements and the senior medical practitioner statements on the program .

 It would've been good to have had a representative of the NRA or BASC on the programme but that wouldn't suit the BBC left-wing agenda.

 Has anyone on here actually had experience of being a refused license because of the GP not returning the form as this is a guidance document published by the Home Office not redline legislation.

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All that may be true, but you may have to resort to the law to enforce your 'rights'. Plod from Lincolnshire (?) was on t'box contradicting what you are saying. Currently there no note from the doc and they will not grant/renew. Feel free to sue...

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2 hours ago, Montey said:

I did  mention I hardly ever watch country file for the same reasons they are very biased against shooting and country sports.  What caused the concern to me that the police statements and the senior medical practitioner statements on the program .

 It would've been good to have had a representative of the NRA or BASC on the programme but that wouldn't suit the BBC left-wing agenda.

 Has anyone on here actually had experience of being a refused license because of the GP not returning the form as this is a guidance document published by the Home Office not redline legislation.

That currently happens in Scotland: no response from GP = no certificate.

A lot of Police forces in England and Wales would like to follow the same policy and one or two are starting to try it on.

 

Cheers

 

Bruce

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Policy isn't law though and the Firearms Act as amended is very clear.  Refusal cannot be reasonably justified on the basis of no GP response without further evidence.  Any reasonable challenge would be successful.  

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A very informative response from VarmLR and useful to retain in case of potential issues arising.

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4 hours ago, onthetin said:

A very informative response from VarmLR and useful to retain in case of potential issues arising.

+1

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As stated this is a guid line not red line  legislation but I imagine it would be difficult for an individual without the backing of the NRA or BASC  to confront and win against their local  police force .

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That's also what your PPC is for.  I found that BASC were of limited help when I had a challenge to make and ended up sorting it myself, successfully and without to much bother or loss of relationship with the licensing team.  You can do this yourself without any shooting organisation involvement.  The law is the law, and you have a right to a renewal unless there are reasonable grounds for refusal.  Speaking to your PPC and suggesting that it would be a poor use of police budget to fight a case in court that they'd lose is usually all it takes.  You just need to be confident in law which means knowing it (!) and appoint a solicitor to write a letter.  I would only advise doing this when all other avenues have been closed to you as it is usually best to work with your licencing team.  If they become obstructive without good reason and the CI will not budge then they'd leave no other avenue open.  You would win the case as long as you have nothing to hide.

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I’ve done a quick google search but it seems inconclusive but, from memory had Lincolnshire police passed their firearms listening over to the private security firm Group4 to administer?

Surely this would make any court challenge more interesting as you could name both parties in the papers etc. 

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The police cannot delegate responsibility for making firearms licensing decisions.  The final decision is made and signature granted by the CI of each force based upon the recommendation of his appointed and suitably trained licencing team who have to follow H/O guidelines and not "make stuff up"!  If the team includes Group 4, it makes no difference to the way it should be administered.  I'd say passing such things to G4 would be a disaster....look at their track record.  Anyway, the court action would be solely against the CI of the represented force and NOT the administering body who have no power in law to make the decisions as it is NOT them who issue the certificates but the CI whose signature is on them.

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That could not possibly be the same G4 who 'appear' to regularly kill prisoners in their custody or are fined for cutting corners and poisoning peoples water supplies - talk about a fox in the chicken shed??

Or am I just getting cynical in my old age?

T

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If the police could subcontract the work of their FEOs then I have no doubt they would, and would  probably have a clause in their contract that gives them a bonus for every certificate they recommend for refusal or revocation:angry:

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I’ve often wondered if firearm licensing was really a job for the Police, but with public accountability I shudder to think what the ramifications would be if a license holder who was vetted by a private company then went on to commit the most serious of offences!

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I think it's fairly common knowledge that the Police would far prefer not to have firearms licensing as one of their statutory duties, 

It uses a lot of police resources for what is (in population terms) a small group of people, so reducing or eliminating privately held firearms is something the police would not be unhappy about.

However, the devil you know etc means that I fully agree with Bradders that using a private contractor to handle firearms licensing would be a disaster.

Look at what has happened when private companies are used to assess the medical condition of many of those people on long term sickness benefit.  Those companies get a bonus for every long term sick person that they can get off benefits, even although that person is unfit to work. I'm not speaking about malingerers - who are playing the system and shouldn't be getting benefits, but about people who have genuine ailments that mean work is simply not possible for them

 

Cheers

 

Bruc

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3 hours ago, bradders said:

I’ve often wondered if firearm licensing was really a job for the Police, but with public accountability I shudder to think what the ramifications would be if a license holder who was vetted by a private company then went on to commit the most serious of offences!

G4S ? :o

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I knew I wasn’t making this up some more detailed searching got me to the G4S website here is one of the highlights of a news item in the bullet points at the end of the article:

  • A four month backlog of files for processing firearms licenses has been cleared and files are now prepared up to two months in advance

Original link here:

http://www.g4s.com/en/Media Centre/News/2013/06/24/UK Policing Support Services/

 

VarmLR I’m sure your technically correct in you legal point but what Bradders says about the fall out should it go belly up is also very pertinent. 

An interesting situation to be in. 

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I think the G4S involvement in firearms licensing may be office staff who administer the system  I don't believe the FEOs are G4S employees and neither are the people making the final grant/refuse decisions.

 

Cheers

 

Bruce

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7 hours ago, phoenix said:

I think the G4S involvement in firearms licensing may be office staff who administer the system  I don't believe the FEOs are G4S employees and neither are the people making the final grant/refuse decisions.

 

Cheers

 

Bruce

That would make more sense but then why use contractors as admin fees would be higher overall than permanent staff unless work was only periodical?  Effectively employing G4 full time for this role seems to be a waste of taxpayers money and introduces an additional security link or weakness in terms of who handles sensitive data.  It would only make sense to get a backlog down to manageable levels.  The people making the final decisions by statute have to be the police themselves on the basis of advice from suitably trained FEO teams who can be (and usually are) civilians these days.

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http://www.g4s.com/en/Media Centre/News/2013/06/24/UK Policing Support Services/

In the Key Highlights section, on 1 April 2012,  575 people who were previously employed by Lincolnshire Police, ceased to be employees of Lincolnshire police and became employees of G4S - so a lot more than firearms licensing was involved!

Although the terms and conditions of those 575 people are unchanged (they're protected by the TUPE regulations), any of those people who leave G4S (or are fired by G4S) can be replaced with people who do not have the same terms and conditions as those who transferred from Lincolnshire police.

Since Lincolnshire's deal with G4S lasts for 10 years, there will probably be a significant reduction in the 575 people protected under the TUPE regulations.

My guess is that G4S hope to make a profit from the contract by running it more efficiently that the police ever did (police forces are not renowned for their best use of human resources) and by using cheaper people to fill posts that become vacant as that 575 number reduces.

 

Cheers

 

Bruce

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That sounds like a recipe for longer term disaster and geared towards shorter term gains and meeting targets.  Tied in for 10 years on a contract that presumably won't allow much in the way of flexibility to reflect changing policing over a decade doesn't sound like good value or an especially good idea!   However, putting more officers on the beat has to be a good thing and the way that policing has been cut over the years cannot continue. One has to question the changing face of policing generally though since the government thought it a great idea to introduce target setting in areas selected by politicians and those with no concept of how good policing works.  It has effectively decriminalised "low value" crime.  More money spent on massive IT projects, centralisation and loss of local police stations (and service) loss of intelligence and proper community policing, and police who only leave their computer terminals at central stations on emergency/fast action response calls all serve to dumb down what policing once meant and stood for.  A few of our friends are in the service and for them, retirement cannot come soon enough.

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I concur with VarmLR's first post.

Had a visit today from my local force (Gwent) as part of my renewal. He raised the whole 'GP' thing, specifically that if my GP wants to be paid for responding to the police, to not pay and ignore it as they shouldn't be charging. Interesting - f**king GP's only in it for the pay!!

When I asked if by refusing to pay and consequently the GP not signing off for the police, would I be refused my renewal (hypothetically). The response was, my certificate will be renewed UNLESS the GP actively states I shouldn't be in possssion of an FAC, based on documented medical grounds, within 21 days. If the police aren't notified about any concerns, they 'must' grant the license because they have no good reason not to grant it.

 

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