A POLICE force which returned mass killer Jake Davison’s gun and licence weeks before he shot five dead has apologised for still failing to monitor firearms certificate renewals.
Home Secretary Priti Patel demanded answers after a Sun on Sunday investigation showed Devon and Cornwall Police allowing owners to keep weapons when permits expire.
They should undergo checks and submit medical certificates.
The force responded by saying it was carrying out an “urgent review” after we alerted them.
A close friend of one of Davison’s victims branded the police failings “appalling”.
It comes days before the anniversary of his spree in Plymouth on August 12 laas jaar.
Ms Patel said before the police apology: “Following the tragic shooting in Plymouth just last year, I asked all police forces across the country urgently to review their firearms licensing practices.
“I also published updated guidance that police are required to follow, by law, which makes clear that a firearms licence — including a renewal — cannot be granted until police have reviewed information from a suitably qualified doctor regarding the applicant’s medical history.
“I expect vigilant and timely checks on firearms licences to remain a priority, and I have asked Devon & Cornwall police for an urgent update.”
Bodybuilding loner Davison, 22, killed five innocent people — including his own mother, and a three-year-old girl and her father — before turning his pump-action shotgun on himself.
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But although the police force was criticised for giving him his weapon and licence back in July 2021, shotgun owners are being sent extensions without checks.
A letter sent by the force’s firearms licensing department to one says: “I am writing to advise that it will not be possible to decide your application before your certificate expires.
“Your certificate will now continue in force for a further period of eight weeks after it is due to expire.”
The worried shotgun owner, who shoots pheasants and whose full licence was last issued in 2017, gesê: “The system is in chaos. We could easily have another Jake Davison situation on our hands.
“I could have had a mental breakdown for all they know, because they’re not making checks.”
He says a staff member said they were busy.
Hy het bygevoeg: “The guy said, ‘Don’t worry — it is not as if we are going to come out and arrest you or anything.’”
A farmer in Cornwall sent his renewal application in February – and has since been told they have lost the paperwork and he must re-apply. He still has his shotgun.
Others say they applied in time but heard nothing other than a written extension without checks.
Julia McGrath, a close friend of one of Davison’s victims, gesê: “No one knows whether gun owners’ circumstances have changed since their licences were granted.
“Who knows what is going on in their lives? This situation is appalling.”
Sy het bygevoeg: “No one, apart from farmers or vets, should have guns in their house.”
The Devon and Cornwall force was investigated by watchdog The Independent Office for Police Conduct over Davison’s attack.
But it will not release its findings until an inquest into deaths has taken place. It is due to be held next January.
The inquest opening heard that Davison’s mother and first victim Maxine, 51, referred him to the government’s Prevent counter-terror programme in 2016.
Police had removed Davison’s gun and licence in December 2020 after he was accused of assaulting two teens in September 2020.
He admitted the assaults and went on a voluntary “pathfinder” programme.
He was in contact with mental health services in May 2021 - but his shotgun and licence were returned to him in July, weeks before his killing spree.
In the run-up to the rampage, Davison spoke of being “beaten down” and “defeated by life” in online videos.
He was also part of the loner sex-starved cult of “incels” or “involuntarily celibates” who are often hostile to women.
His 12-minute killing rampage began when he blasted his mother to death at their home.
He then went out into the street and shot dead Lee Martyn, 43, and his daughter Sophie Martyn, drie.
Devon and Cornwall Police said last night: “We have identified an issue within our licensing system which has led to a number of certifications [het] expired and not being renewed.
“The force are undertaking an urgent review of all licences as a matter of priority to identify any cases where licences have expired and and to ensure a renewal is issued if appropriate.
“We apologise for this error and we are rectifying this as a matter of urgency.”