Complaint Handling Reviews

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Report - Police Scotland - PIRC/00198/21

08 Feb 2022

The Complaints

The complaints in this case arose from the manner in which Police Scotland handled the applicant’s renewal application for his Firearm and Shotgun Certificates.

We have reviewed the handling of nine complaints, namely that:

  1. Despite contacting the Firearms Enquiry Officer (FEO) in August 2020 regarding his shotgun renewal, the applicant was not seen until October 2020 and the process was still ongoing when the applicant had only a few days left on his certificate (which expired on 9 December 2020);

  2. The FEO interviewed the applicant for four hours on 15 October 2020 and visited him again on either 30 November or 1 December 2020, which the applicant said made him feel bullied, intimidated and interrogated;

  3. On the evening of 17 October 2020, the FEO contacted two of the applicant’s referees unexpectedly and without warning;

  4. On or between 30 November and 1 December 2020, the FEO mistakenly removed what he believed to be an excess of .22 ammunition, and mistakenly stated that the applicant had more .22/250 ammunition on the second visit than the first even though the applicant had not purchased any. The inference was that the applicant was dishonest, rather than this being a counting error by the FEO;

  5. On or between 30 November 2020 and 1 December 2020, the applicant felt pressurised into purchasing the alarm system recommended by the FEO;

  6. The applicant was not provided with copies of his certificates until several weeks after he was advised they were being renewed. After having made several requests, the copies were handed to the applicant without discussion;

  7. In November 2020, the applicant and his wife’s reference checks were not conducted together, which was inefficient;

  8. On 1 December 2020, the applicant was pressurised without sufficient explanation into giving up two of his firearms; and

  9. On 18 December 2020, when the applicant spoke to a Firearms Licensing Sergeant to complain about the FEO, she: told the applicant that he was well respected and a good shot; advised it was ‘a good idea to let it go’; and read from the applicant’s records that he was ‘confused’.

Police Scotland’s Decision

Police Scotland did not uphold any of the applicant’s complaints.

Our Findings

We have found that Police Scotland handled all of the applicant’s complaints to a reasonable standard.

Nonetheless, we have made a single recommendation to address an administrative shortcoming identified in Police Scotland’s recording of complaint 6.

Our recommendation should be implemented by Police Scotland within two months of the date of this report.

Police Bodies : Police Scotland

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