The Police IT Organisation (Pito) is to begin the roll-out of the long-delayed national firearms database this week.
A national register and better access to firearms records across police forces was first recommended in the Cullen Report, which followed the Dunblane primary school massacre of 1996.
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But moves to set up a national database have been repeatedly delayed. Pilots for the system had initially been due in May 2002, with full implementation set for May 2003. Then in 2004 Pito set a January 2005 launch date – only to be held up by technical problems.
The National Firearms Licence Management System will now be rolled out after the completion of pilot schemes by the Lancashire and Metropolitan Police forces.
A Pito spokesman confirmed: “The project board has signed those off. We’re now commencing the roll-out programme.”
The system is set to be in place across the country by the end of March 2007.