You will be required to provide a medical report which verifies your medical history against the relevant conditions as necessary in question ten of the application form. This will apply to all applications, whether declaring a medical condition or not.
Please note that applications received without the GP medical Proforma after the specified dates will be returned to you as incomplete.
The fact you have a condition may not necessarily mean your application is refused.
Q. Why are you implementing the GP Medical proforma policy?
A. The GP medical proforma policy has been adopted by numerous forces following national consultation. It supports our overriding purpose of ensuring the safety of the public which is paramount in all licensing decisions we make. In order to protect lives, police forces must ensure they have all reasonably available information in order to make informed decisions regarding the issue of certificates. The policy also helps to streamline the firearms licensing administrative process, which in turn improves our service to the shooting community.
Q. Your policy is unlawful because it breaches Home Office guidance – what is your justification for implementing this policy?
A. The Home Office publishes guidance to aid consistent practice across the forces. They are recommendations and not legally binding. The GP medical proforma policy has been endorsed as best practice by the National Police Chiefs Council (NPCC) and has been adopted by numerous police forces.
Q. You state that you require a medical report for all firearms licence applicants and the Home Office guidance only requires medical reports for those with specified conditions or relevant history -why is this?
A. The Home Office guidance was updated in 2016 to allow the police to request a medical report from every applicant, not just those who voluntarily declare a medical condition. This change was recommended by the Office of the Chief Coroner and agreed by the Information Commissioner, the BMA and shooting organisations.
Q. My GP is incredibly busy and I am unable to get a completed GP report prior to my expiry date - what should I do?
A. Keep us informed as we are able to issue an extension to existing licences while reports are obtained. This will ensure the holder retains all of their permissions and does not fall into illegal possession. We can also advise certificate holders of alternate service providers who are able to provide the relevant information.
Q. GPs charge different fees for this service- the Police should enforce a standard fee otherwise they are breaching home office guidance and holders are affected by a ‘post code lottery’.
A. Police forces do not have the powers to impose a standard fee.
Q. My GP is refusing to complete the proforma, what do I do?
A. We have the full support of the Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Hertfordshire local medical councils (LMCs) for this process. Our proforma contains their guidance and advice to GPs, including recommended standardisation of fees. The process is also supported by the British Medical Association. If you do face refusals from your practice, please get in touch and we can discuss with them direct and/or provide details of alternative providers.
Q. My GP refuses to complete the form as they say it seeks an opinion on matters falling outside of their medical expertise – what should I do?
A. Our proforma asks for medical facts only, it does not seek an opinion on your suitability. That is entirely for the police to determine.
Q. How have you determined what medical issues may affect my application?
A. The list of medical conditions that we seek information on has been agreed by government, the BMA and shooting organisations. This list has is also set out in the Home Office guidance.
Q. If my GP supplies you with information that I do not agree with, you could refuse my application and that isn’t fair.
A. Your GP should send the report direct to you, not to the police. This gives you the opportunity to discuss it with them first. If the GP has included something that they feel we need to be aware of, please bear in mind that historical medical issues do not automatically mean you will be refused a license.
Q. What measures do you take to ensure my personal information is kept secure and only shared for appropriate reasons to appropriate persons?
A. As a department we follow all necessary statutory requirements in line with force policies to ensure the security of personal data and information. The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) is our regulator, and is the UK’s independent body set up to uphold information rights. They can audit our handling of all aspects of data protection at any time. Please see the link for further information in relation to the ICO.