No formal training for firearms licensing officers in Devon and Cornwall for two decades

An image of the Weatherby pump action shotgun (top) used by Jake Davison next to a 12 - gauge over - under twin barrel shotgun Credit: PA Images

There was no formal training for firearms licencing officers in Devon and Cornwall for more than twenty years, a court has heard.

This was despite recommendations that officers should be given as much training and guidance as possible, after the 1996 Dunblane shooting.

Stephen Carder was the Firearms Licencing Supervisor in charge of firearms enquiry in the area at the time of the Keyham shootings.

He told the court that he had done a two-day training course in 1998 which was relevant to his job - but nothing else until 2020.

Commenting on the small amount of training given to Mr Carder, the Coroners Barrister Bridget Dolan asked him: "Does that seem to suggest that the guidance that came out of Dunblane about firearms licensing staff being given as much training and guidance as possible had simply been forgotten about?"

He replied. "It appears so."

Ms Dolan continued, "Not just for a little while, for 22 years there had been nothing available to you as a staff member?"

Mr Carder replied, "Yes."

Ms Dolan also asked Mr Carder about the culture of the force around revoking shotgun licences.

Jurors at the inquest into the Keyham tragedy heard that Devon and Cornwall Police revoke fewer shotgun licences than the national average.

She said it appeared that Devon and Cornwall Police saw public safety as a secondary risk in handing back shotgun licences, saying it appeared they were more concerned about the risk of firearms enquiry officers having to give evidence in court in case of appeals against revocation. Mr Carder agreed.

The inquest continues.