Firearms and Explosives Branch to introduce New Technology

  • 09 May 2016

Firearms and Explosives Branch to introduce New Technology

Through feedback the Police Service of Northern Ireland Firearms and Explosives Branch (FEB ) have received from stakeholders and members of the public we acknowledge their concerns that the current application process is currently too slow and does not meet their requirements. 

Taking these considerations into account and as part of the ongoing redevelopment of the Branch we wanted to take this opportunity to let the public know that we will be introducing a new online application process later this year for anyone wishing to apply for an initial/regrant or variation certificate.

Discussing the new process Assistant Chief Constable Alan Todd said; “We have been working with our internal IT department, the Department of Justice and NI Direct to develop a robust online application process.

"The new application method will reduce the requirement for manual entry of data which in turn will allow us to process the applications more efficiently and effectively.

“The new process will also have built in IT capability to ensure that all the information is stored on one system which is not on the current system.  This is one the most secure systems in the UK.

“As part of our development phase prior to going live, we have explored the possibility of a dual paper system however, we discovered there were a number of challenges with this including double keying of information by Firearms and Explosives Branch staff, this would be extremely time consuming and resource intensive.  

"On average FEB process approximately 19,000 initial/regrant and variations each year. The application reject rate is 13% which equates to 2,470 applications being returned to the member of the public for update. There is also a percentage of applications which get held up in the postal service due to incorrect postage. Both of these issues delay the process of assessing an application.

“The new online application process will eliminate these inaccuracies allowing the FEB to capture information right first time, which will improve turnaround times.

“Assistant Chief Constable Alan Todd concluded “We will continue to work with our stakeholders and representatives of the shooting community to ensure our application process and resources are used in the most effective manner possible.”