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Development work on the National Firearms Database, which was expected to be operational from February 2002, will be stalled from November 2001 to March 2002 while the update takes place.
The delay was announced in an obscure parliamentary written answer by Home Office minister Lord Rooker who told parliament that the firearms database would go live "as soon as possible" following the upgrade.
A spokesman for the Police IT Organisation (PITO) said: "The firearms database will run over the PNC and the development timeframe coincides with an essential software upgrade to new generation technology. It is unfortunate that the scheduling has clashed, but unavoidable."
The database will provide a central register for people who have applied for, or been given, firearm or shotgun certificates.
The central register is required under section 39 of the Firearms (Amendment) Act, which came into force in October 1997.
The PITO spokesman added: "PITO is ensuring that ongoing PNC operational service is maintained, new applications are tested so that they will work in the new environment and the firearms database will be readied for eventual upload."