Police is making significant progress in processing firearms licences, with 600 applications processed in the past two weeks alone.
“We know people are frustrated by the delays in firearms licensing applications, and we acknowledge that the current situation is not acceptable,” Deputy Commissioner Jevon McSkimming says.
Police has been working hard to modernise our processes around the Arms Act and ensure that only people who are fit and proper are able to access, possess, and use firearms.
This has meant new systems, forms, and training for our staff, and more quality assurance processes. Coupled with the impacts of Covid, and demand for licences, this has unfortunately led to delays in our firearms licence processing.
“We appreciate people’s patience and want to assure applicants we are working on solutions to reduce the pipeline of applications.”
Police has implemented several strategies to address delays, including:
- Doubling our national workforce over the past nine months.
- Prioritising renewals first, and then any first time applications based on needing a licence for work.
- We are also sharing work across districts to ensure a more even spread of work.
Sending reminders to licence holders to apply in sufficient time by notifying them six months in advance of their licence expiry.
The most helpful thing people can do is apply for their licence four months in advance of the expiry of their current licence.
People who do the following things will have the fastest progression in the system:
- Please ensure your referees are available for reference checking. Sometimes referees are slow to complete and return their questionnaires, and this causes delays. If applicants follow up with their referees to prompt them to complete the forms, that will assist in this part of the process.
- Ensure you have fully completed the application and haven’t missed points Police will need to follow up on, or clarify with you.
- The vetting interview process can be completed most efficiently if vetting staff are able to interview the applicant, the related referee, and non-related referee in one visit at the applicant’s home. This means three separate interviews (in separate rooms) can be conducted during one visit, as well as the required check of the applicant’s firearms security arrangements. By having the applicant and referees at the same location there is no delay between interviews. Note; vetting officers are moving to a fixed schedule which means applicants and referees will need to fit into the availability of the vetting staff, not the other way around.
“With duck shooting season around the corner, we remind shooters that if you are accompanied by, and under the immediate supervision of, a current licence holder, you are still able to shoot in the maimai.”