Every year the British Association for Shooting and Conservation (BASC) creates a league table to grade the speed at which forces deal with licenses.
This year BASC rated Lincolnshire Police as in the top three for dealing with certificate grants and renewals – catapulted from the bottom of the league two years ago.
Currently, there around 20,000 licence holders and 50,000 guns in Lincolnshire. Each licence needs to be renewed every five years.
BACS league table works on a traffic light system – awarding green for top ten performance, red for bottom ten and yellow for average.
In 2017 Lincolnshire was awarded red in all seven categories of applications and renewals. This year the force was awarded green across the board.
Detective Inspector Mark Seage, head of Lincolnshire Police Firearms and Explosives Licensing said: “I am delighted the department has received such positive recognition from our partners at BASC and is now recognised as one of the top performing firearms licensing departments in the country.
“This has been achieved as a result of everyone’s hard work. I especially want to thank Dr Kieran Sharrock from the Lincolnshire Medical Committee, GPs and surgeries around the county, our registered firearms dealers and certificate holders with whom we work closely.
“Our collective aim is to ensure that public safety is at the core of everything we do, and to provide the best possible public service.
“We were the first police firearms licensing department to introduce mandatory submission of medical reports with every grant, renewal and transfer into the county. This has already made a significant improvement to public safety.
“The department will continue to work with our partners to identify new ideas and solutions in order to meet our collective aims.”
The rise in the league tables comes after a new on-line application system was introduced in 2017 – following a pledge from the county’s Police and Crime Commissioner Marc Jones to deliver a better service and improved safety for licence holders and the public.
PCC Marc Jones said: “One of the promises I made when I entered office was to deliver a more effective and efficient firearms licensing process – and, crucially, one that was safer for the public.
“I am delighted that our process has been catapulted from the bottom of the league table to the top in just two years – it is a truly remarkable performance.
“What is particularly impressive is that our new system not only delivers better service to thousands of license holder – many of whom depend on a firearm for their job – but we are now carrying out more visits and inspections too.
“That means improved safety for everyone.”
• BASC was established in 1908 and its patron is the Duke of Edinburgh. It has a membership of more than 155,000.