The Countryside Alliance has submitted a dossier of evidence to the Home Office on the medical procedures associated with firearms licensing.

The alliance was asked to collate this information during a meeting with Home Office Minister Nick Hurd MP, who wanted a clearer picture of the service the shooting community was receiving from their GPs.

The officials had been gathering evidence from the police and medical communities, but having heard the alliance's concerns we were asked to collate evidence of its members' experiences and send them directly to the Home Office team.

Evidence

The dossier the alliance submitted contained four distinct sets of evidence. In some cases, it claimed GPs requested fees as high as £155.

A letter submitted by the alliance which a member had received from their MP, confirmed that their local police force had characterised the implementation of the medical procedure as "hit or miss".

It also submitted correspondence from police forces, highlighting the fact that regardless of whether a fee is paid there is no way to guarantee that the medical procedure is being undertaken.

It also included new data, derived from the 2018 Shoot Census produced by Guns on Pegs and Strutt and Parker, that said 25% of all renewals and applications were charged a fee by their GP despite current Home Office guidance stipulating this stage of the process should be free.

Furthermore, just 16% had actually paid. The alliance highlighted the fact that if 25% were being charged yet 16% were paying, that means almost one in 10 applicants are receiving a bill, and receiving their certificate regardless.

Countryside Alliance head of campaigns Liam Stokes said: "We are grateful to the Home Office for asking us to undertake this evidence gathering exercise, and we are grateful to our members and to Guns on Pegs and Strutt and Parker for helping us to collate such a wide range of information.

"This is exactly what the alliance exists to do - to broadcast the voice of the shooting community directly into the corridors of power.

"Now we have highlighted the widely varying service being received by the shooting community, we have requested the Government update us on what is going to be done to ensure that improvements to public safety are delivered and that applicants and renewals will receive a fair and consistent service."