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Message from Inspector Chris Downs, in charge of Met FET

posted 30 Mar 2020, 07:37 by Tony Cattermole   [ updated 30 Mar 2020, 07:37 ]
The following is a message from Inspector Chris Downs, in charge of Met FET to me as a member of the Met Independent Advisory Group, which I quote in its entirety so that you can appreciate their supportive approach. Members may address any questions to me at :- chairman@hbsa-uk.org

We will post any updates or further information as and when received

Trusting that you are all staying well!

Derek Stimpson

"I don’t think it will come as a surprise to anyone that all public services, the Metropolitan Police Service included, are currently finding themselves operating in very difficult and rapidly changing environment. As a result I have had to make some difficult decisions in order to maintain our core business during this period and I have summarised these below for your information.

Renewals of all certification will take place via remote assessment via video, on the most widely available electronic mediums, and telephones calls.

We will take absolutely every measure to avoid certificate holders going in to unlawful possession but there may be some occasions where this is unavoidable. I am sensitive to the closure of RFDs but we have secured cooperation from a number of these across London to provide emergency storage in the event of no other alternative. If you, your colleagues, members or friends find themselves in this position then please contact us electronically and we will assist in making the necessary arrangements.

Wherever possible we will aim to avoid the issue of temporary permits as this in turn creates an additional demand on the team that we can ill afford.

Currently we have placed all new grants and variations on hold until this situation is under control. I do not at this time intend to return the paperwork associated with new grants but will on request. Applications for variations are now in the process of being returned with an explanatory note.

Responses to requests for materials for appeals will also be subject for delays but again we will make every effort to service this demand.

In terms of the bigger picture we have now reached the point where my staff and I will be required to assist the policing response across the Capital. This does not mean that our business will stop but does means that it will be maintained by absolutely minimal staff from Monday onwards and there may be service disruptions which occur at short notice.

As our partners in this endeavour I ask for your patience and understanding as we deal with these unprecedented times and your assistance in ensuring that our customers continue to receive the best possible service that we can offer.

The key messages I would ask for your help in delivering are:

· We remain committed to providing our service and Firearms Licensing remains a priority for the MPS.
· That we are suffering disruption to our normal service due to these extraordinary circumstances.
· Only contact us when absolutely necessary and please utilise the internet based options to do so (Email - FETLondonAll@met.police.uk or general enquiry form found at https://www.met.police.uk/advice/advice-and-information/fi/af/firearms-licensing/mht/contact-firearms-team/ )
· Existing certificate holders should apply early (12 - 16 weeks) for at least the next six months in order to secure the statutory extension and give us the best possible opportunity to renew within time.
· If anyone finds themselves requiring renewal at timescales shorter than that described above they should make their renewal application electronically and follow this with an electronic contact to our office. We have a process in place to offer assistance in these circumstances but this is the most efficient way to access our services.
· We will be sympathetic to issues that shooters may experience in having opportunity to access ranges and shoots during these difficult times. This will be taken into consideration when we are considering evidence of continuing “good reason”
· We are well aware of the pressure felt across the NHS and will work together with our shooters and health partners to ensure a pragmatic approach is taken to addressing any medical issues raised.

I hope to rearrange our planned stakeholder meeting that was scheduled in April as soon as reasonably practicable so that I can provide fuller information.

With kind regards and wishing you all the best for the future.