THE rules are changing for people who want to obtain a firearms licence in Essex.

From today those who wish to apply for a firearms or shotgun licence will now be required to supply medical information verified by a GP, as part of the application process.

This applies to all applications regardless of medical conditions or not.

Chief Inspector Cornish, head of firearms licensing at Essex Police, said: “The change to policy will enable us to make more informed decisions when processing the applications - our aim is to ensure the safety of the wider community and those with an interest in firearms.

“The legislation under the Firearms Act 1968 and guidance from the Home Office states before granting a firearms or shotgun certificate, the authorising officer must be satisfied applicants can be permitted to hold the firearms or shotgun without danger to public safety.

"We believe medical evidence is essential in our decision making and that the current process needed to be reviewed.

“This procedural change will also streamline and extradite the process for applicants given all available material will be available to an officer."

It is the applicant's responsibility to contact their GP.

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