Police slammed over iPhone gun app

June 17, 2010 | by | 0 Comments

A police force is under fire over plans to allow gun owners to update their firearms licences using an iPHONE APP.

Sussex Police is designing a series of applications for Apple’s smartphone which let members of the public access news, appeals and other services at the touch of a button.

The force proposes letting shotgun and firearm licences to be renewed using a new iPhone app without meeting cops face to face as part of a £3m cost-cutting drive.

But gun control campaigners have accused police of putting money before lives and urged the force to abandon the scheme.

The barmy idea comes just weeks after gun-nut Derrick Bird, 52, went on a shooting spree in Cumbria with two guns he legally owned and killed 12 people.

Campaigners have demanded stringent and regular mental health checks on all shotgun and firearm licence holders following the shocking shootings.

Lyn Costello, of Mothers Against Murder and Aggression (MAMAA), said: ”This isn’t suitable especially in light of what happened in Cumbria. We’ve got to be extra careful giving gun licences.

”We have this attitude that gun murders don’t happen very often so its OK to be lax, but it is not OK and we’ve got to do everything in our power to stop it happening again.

”We can’t put money before life and if you start to do that we are losing our humanity. It is a really stupid idea.”

Gill Marshall-Andrews, of Gun Control Network, said: ”We are opposed to this especially in light of the the Cumbria shootings it is an extraordinarily silly idea.

”We have to look at how shootings can be avoided, release the secrecy behind who has licences and increase the amount of checks.

”We need to reduce the risk of something like Cumbria happening and by allowing people just to renew their licence by mobile phone increases the risk that the person with the firearm licence will misuse it at some point.”

Sussex Police said it is developing the software to allow people to access information on the web or mobile phones instead of speaking to police staff.

Kian de Loach, the force’s head of multimedia and e-services, said: ”They may be for those practical things people are doing at the moment, such as making a telephone call and then filling out a police form by hand.

”If we can start to automate those things and do it through channels people want to use, there is potentially cost-saving there.”

Mr de Loach said the applications can be adapted for use on a number of mobile phone models.

The proposal will be discussed by digital media heads from police forces across England and Wales at the force’s social media conference in Brighton on June 25.

Mr de Loach added: “It is important to effectively engage with the communities we serve online alongside more traditional face-to-face methods.

”More and more people are looking to interact with public services online to communicate and get the information they need quickly and directly.

Taxi driver Derrick Bird carried out his murderous spree on June 2 armed with .22 rifle with telescopic sight and a shotgun which he legally owned.

He killed 12 people including his twin brother David, family solicitor Kevin Commons before he shot himself.

It was the biggest gun mass murder since the Dunblane school massacre in 1996.

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