NPCC to oversee fresh inquiry into firearms licensing in Devon and Cornwall

A third inquiry into the events leading up to the shooting of five people in the Keyham area of Plymouth has been announced.

Aug 18, 2021
By Tony Thompson
Alison Hernandez

In Britain’s worst mass shooting for more than a decade, Jake Davison, 22, shot dead his own mother and four others before turning the gun on himself on August 12.

The police and crime commissioner for Devon, Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly said she will assist the chief constable of Devon and Cornwall Police with an urgent review of the force’s firearms licensing procedures. The inquiry will be overseen by the National Police Chiefs Council (NPCC).

Alison Hernandez, who accompanied Home Secretary Priti Patel on a visit to the city on Saturday, also announced today (August 18) that she will be working with partners in a bid for funding to ensure that communities affected by the shooting have long-term support in place.

Ms Hernandez said she wanted to reassure residents of the city and update them on activity since it occurred.

“I have spent considerable time with this community after this appalling incident and want to reassure them that we stand with them at this tremendously difficult time,” she said.

“Not only have they lost much-loved friends and family members but they have found themselves at the centre of a sometimes intrusive national and international media presence. The impact of this will be felt by this community for a long time. I want to let the people of Keyham know that after the initial attention has died down we will still be there for them.

“We must not jump to conclusions about the reasons for these heinous crimes but await the Independent Office of Police Conduct’s (IOPC) investigation, an NPCC led inquiry into the police’s procedures and the coroner’s report as we seek to fully understand what, if any, changes may need to be made into firearms licensing procedures.

“I am assisting the chief constable to organise a fast review of the general procedures of firearms licensing in Devon and Cornwall to ensure they are following national guidance correctly.

“We will also be working with police and crime commissioners from around the country to ensure that if there are lessons to be learned licensing procedures in England and Wales these will be shared with colleagues from around the country.”

The IOPC is already investigating the decision by the Devon and Cornwall force to return Davison’s shotgun certificate and weapon to him. They had been seized in December last year following an assault allegation the previous September and were returned to him in July.

The Government has also announced firearms applicants will be subject to social media checks. All police forces in England and Wales are being asked to review their current firearm application processes, as well as assess whether they need to revisit any existing licences.

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