Whats that? The last day deadline for an Official Information Act request?

Then it must be time for a Police response.

Superintendent Chris Scahill is the National Manager for ‘Response and Operations’.

Here he answers some of our concerns about the significant Police delays in… well… doing their job.

How have these delays come about?

There have been a number of factors that have contributed to there being increased delays with the processing of permits and applications. Police set a 30 day processing target for all applications and permits and generally speaking, given consideration to the full range of arms control duties, have historically met this timeframe .

Recent changes to the manner in which parts importation applications are processed resulted in ICT implications which although now resolved, created a backlog of permits requiring processing.

This situation was further exacerbated by the November 14 earthquake in Wellington which saw the relocation of the National Arms Safety and Control office and critically the loss through damage and misplacement of an amount of application documentation within the process.

Finally the National Arms Safety and control office has only recently filled vacant established positions and although staffed at capacity it will not realise full capability until staff are fully conversant with role expectations.

What is being done to improve the situation?

Work is being prioritised within the area with a focus on clearing the backlog of applications whilst continuing to process new applications within the 30 day time period. The processing of applications into the future especially as regard parts importations will see the workload shared between district and national resource. National courses have been programmed for Arms Officers specifically with focus on the Arms Control arena, the first being in April 2017 will increase the knowledge skills and ability of staff handling applications.

What is the estimated period before you anticipate the system is running smoothly?

It is anticipated that the current situation as regards delays to processing of applications and permits will be rectified by the end of March 2017 with new applications post that time being processed within a 30 day time period.

What is the annual budget for the Arms Office/ Firearm control system?

Revenue received from administering firearms license applications is the only income recorded by Police in relation to the “administration of firearms legislation and related matters”. The FY2015/16 revenue was $5.6m.

Obviously the Police DO have other income for their arms offices, management costs, etc.

This would presumably be found listed in their ‘Budget’.

Don’t know why they would want to hide it.

We have referred the matter to the Office of the Ombudsmen to get an actual accounting.

In the meantime – The Police should be back up to speed NOW.

We shall see.