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Policing and Crime Act 2017 and next steps

posted 5 Feb 2017, 06:37 by Tony Cattermole   [ updated 5 Feb 2017, 09:02 ]
As members will be aware the Act received Royal Assent on the 31st January 2017.

The link to the online copy of the Act is www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2017/3/enacted - a digital section by section version should be available soon. Meanwhile in the attached pdf the firearms sections are shown for ease of reference.

No firearms provisions came into force when the Act received Royal Assent, and we understand that only those firearms provisions which can be implemented quickly are expected to commence in spring. These should be:-
  • Amendments to subsection 57(1): Definition of a firearm
  • New subsection 57(1B): Definition of the term “lethal”
  • New section 57A: Exception for airsoft guns
  • New subsection 57(1D): Component parts of a firearm
  • New section 4A: Possession of articles for use in connection with conversion of an imitation firearm
  • New section 8A: Controls on defectively deactivated weapons
  • Amendments to section 129; Controls on Ammunition which Expands on impact
  • Amendments to section 130: Authorised lending and possession of firearms for hunting etc.
  • Amendments to section 133: Guidance to police officers in respect of firearms
The Home Office expect to issue a circular covering the separate firearms amendments shortly. They hope that all the provisions in the Act can be implemented by later this year.

Next steps for the other provisions:
  • Section 126 – meaning of antique firearm: public consultation (expected to launch soon – duration: 8 weeks); analysis of responses ; drafting of secondary legislation which will be subject to Parliament’s approval (through affirmative debates in both Houses)
  • Section 131 – limited extension of firearm certificates: police firearms licensing processes and systems will need updating, which will take too long to commence in spring. Home Office will work with police and shooting organisations to produce a programme of updates (led by police) required for implementation/commencement of the provisions
  • Section 132 – applications under the firearms acts: fees: as you know, the consultation is currently on; after the analysis of responses there will be drafting of secondary legislation (negative legislation, so no debates required, although subject to similar scrutiny/clearances)
  • Section 133 – statutory guidance to police: the duty on the police to give due regard to sections of the guidance relating to the discharge of their firearms functions will commence, but not apply until HO have consulted (required: with police chiefs) on sections/content of the guidance to become statutory.
At the same time as all this work progresses, the Home Office will coordinate a review of the published HO “Guidance" to update/correct its content and improve its consistency.

We will keep members informed.

Derek Stimpson