FIREARM and shotgun owners applying to police for licences are facing some of the longest delays in the country.
It comes as a police watchdog today releases a report saying police forces run the risk of potential tragedy if changes are not made.
Hampshire Constabulary takes nearly 120 days to grant a firearms licence – the third slowest in the country. And it takes around the same of time to issue new shotgun licences – second slowest in the country.
Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary said the national average was just 60 days for new firearms and just under 60 days for new shotgun licences across 43 forces.
Hampshire takes more than 60 days to renew firearms licences, more than the around 40-day average – the figures are around the same for shotgun licences.
HMI Stephen Otter, who led the inspection, said: ‘Lessons from past tragedies have not always been learnt and this fails the victims of those events, including their families, unacceptably. Unless things change, we run the risk of further tragedies.’
Nationally applications were dealt with between an average of five to 165 days.
A police spokesman said: ‘We prioritise renewals over new licences. This minimises the number of temporary permits issued, which is an important part of ensuring public safety.’