Outside force to review Devon and Cornwall police’s gun licensing

An outside force will carry out an urgent inquiry into Devon and Cornwall police’s firearms licensing regime after the mass shooting carried out by Jake Davison in Plymouth.

The “fast review” will run alongside an investigation by the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC), which is investigating why Davison’s shotgun was returned to him last month after being confiscated because an allegation of assault.

Police forces across England and Wales have been asked to review their firearms application processes after last week’s shooting, in which Davison killed five people before killing himself. But Devon and Cornwall is the only force that will be investigated by outside officers.

Por separado, the home secretary, Priti Patel, announced that new statutory guidance would be published, spelling out that nobody should be given a firearm licence until their doctor has informed the police of any medical conditions, including mental health issues, that may make them unfit to have a gun.

Davison’s received help for mental health problems during lockdown, but it is understood that police were not aware of these issues.

The government has also announced firearms applicants will be subject to social media checks. Davison’s social media accounts suggest an obsession with the “incel” – “involuntary celibate” – movement as well as a deep interest in guns, but the Devon and Cornwall force is not believed to have researched his online presence.

In a written statement to parliament, Patel said: “The new guidance … will ensure better consistency and improved standards across police firearms licensing departments.

“It will mean that no one is given a firearms licence unless their doctor has confirmed to the police whether or not they have any relevant medical conditions, including an assessment of their mental health, and it will make explicit that firearms applicants may be subject to social media checks.”

Patel said investigations continued into Davison’s motives for the attack. Ella dijo: “Whether or not an incident is determined to be terrorism-related is a decision made independently of the government by the police, based on the specific circumstances and what the police find during the investigation. The Terrorism Act 2000 definition is sufficiently broad to capture modern causes of terrorism, including ‘incel’ violence.”

IOPC investigators are expected to soon start interviewing those involved in decisions to hand back Davison his gun licence.

Devon and Cornwall police first granted Davison a licence in 2017 on a five-year term but the firearm was taken away in 2019 after he got into a fight. He agreed to attend an anger management course and his licence was restored.

Devon and Cornwall police refused to say how many people have a firearms licence with the force’s area. The Guardian understands the force has 50,000 firearms licence holders approved to hold more than 100,000 weapons. That includes firearms such as shotguns, rifles, and purposes include for sport and recreation, as in Davison’s case, and also for vets and farmers.

El jueves por la mañana, Ian Arrow, the senior coroner for Plymouth, Torbay and south Devon, will formally open inquests into the deaths of Maxine Davison, 51, Sophie Martyn, Tres, her father, Lee, 43, Stephen Washington, 59, and Kate Shepherd, 66. In a separate hearing in the afternoon, Arrow will open the inquest into the death of apprentice crane operator Davison.

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