In January 2017 the Police Service of Northern Ireland’s Firearms and Explosives Branch introduced a new online application process for anyone applying for initial/re-grant and variation of a firearm certificate. At that time we made a commitment to keep a dual process of both online and paper for a minimum of six months.
Following feedback from end users and key stakeholders leading to further investment and improvements in the online application process, we are now planning to cease the paper application process from 9 July 2018.
Discussing the Firearms Licensing Application process Assistant Chief Constable Alan Todd said: “Over the pasts 16 months we have operated a dual paper based and online application process for firearms licensing applications in the interests of fully developing the new system. However, continuing to operate an inefficient dual process has prevented Firearms Licensing Branch from effectively delivering the benefits of the new online system which has led to more backlogs on all applications and also prevents further planned improvements for the future.
“We receive over 12,000 firearms applications each year with a growing majority of those now being completed online. Having considered a range of factors including feedback from our users we now feel that the time is right to cease the paper application process from the 9 July 2018 onwards.
“Over the last 16 months the online system has demonstrated that it has the ability to significantly improve the end to end application process and provide further benefits for applicants in the future. Of course, change is not always universally well received and in responding to some of the concerns raised we have introduced a number of measures which has included providing 60 internet enabled computers to Firearms Dealers and Target Clubs across Northern Ireland which, in turn, will enable many Firearm Certificate Holders to seek assistance and complete the online application whilst on their premises”.
A short film has also been developed which allows members of the public to go through the online process. It can be viewed at https://www.youtube.com/watch?
We also have developed detailed guidelines which can be accessed from the Firearms section of our website and they will assist the applicant when completing their online application form.
We are currently working with our partners in NI Direct in planning a number of roadshows across Northern Ireland which will also allow Firearm Certificate Holders, Dealers and Target Club members the opportunity to see how online application process works.
A Frequently Asked Question section with further information on our new online application process is available from our website.
You can access the application form on either the PSNI website or the NI Direct website www.nidirect.gov.uk/