The Sunday Express sent three questions to CoP Gary Griffith yesterday morning, seeking comment on the Sunday Express investigation. Here are the questions and Griffith’s responses:
SE: Did investigating officers advise you against the issuance of FULs and Provisional Licences to several citizens, and did you ignore that advice? If yes, why?
GG: Upon my assumption to the office of Commissioner of Police I inherited a backlog of pending FUL applications where persons would have gone through the investigative process and met the criteria for the issuance of an FUL, but were left in a land of abeyance with no word as to whether or not their applications were approved.
I met several letters from attorneys making representation on behalf of their clients threatening legal action and several pending Firearms Appeal Board matters. I sought to clear up the backlog. In so doing, I met a flawed investigative process which I’m in the process of correcting.
Additionally, with regards to the non-recommended files by investigators, I found it to be subjective and unfair (just) because persons’ lives “were under no immediate threat” they were not recommended.
Am I to wait until there is an attempt on the life of a citizen before I can give them the opportunity to defend themselves, their families and their property? Not under my watch.
As such, I took the decision to review all these files and used my authority given to me by the Firearms Act to grant such licences.
As Commissioner of Police, I am going to do everything within my lawful power to protect the lives of the citizens of this country. I issued FULs to persons of all walks of life without fair or favour, malice or ill will.
Firearm Users Licences
• August to December 2018 - 613
• January to December 2019 -1695
• January to September 2020 -1628
• August to December 2018 - 213
• January to December 2019 - 946
• January to September 2020 - 1083
Prior to taking up office, the figure for FULs for 2018 was 126, and provisionals was 19.
SE: Why did you approve FULs and Provisional Licences to several applicants who are currently before the courts on criminal charges?
GG: Again, due to a flawed investigative process that I inherited and am in the process of restructuring, I understand that before my tenure persons with pending charges were granted FULs.
I have since formed an intelligence and investigative unit within the Firearms Section called the Firearms Compliance Unit that reports directly to me on all issues of non-compliance with regards to persons attempting to slip through the cracks.
I have also instructed that the criminal records which include pending matters be placed on FUL applications to properly guide me in my deliberations.
Investigators have a period of two months to complete their investigations, as instructed by the Standing Orders.
If they fail to do so, I am going to exercise the power to intervene by way of the Firearms Compliance Unit to run proper background checks on all applicants.
SE: Several businessmen who were granted FULs are also donors to the ISOS fund. Were you influenced by this?
GG: Your character may allow you to be influenced by donations. Mine is different. Such an irresponsible comment is expected by the Express.
It is similar as asking if the Express would be biased and influenced to print false or biased stories to benefit those who advertise in their newspaper.
Is this what the Express does? Are they influenced by external units to discredit the police?
Unlike the Express, the TTPS is not influenced by those who are mature enough to decide to work with the TTPS to reduce crime, and FULs are approved based on persons having the right to bear arms if they provide what it required, whilst certain persons do just the opposite as it seems that they have a directive and an agenda to discredit the TTPS, as every article they print, it is aligned to attack the police.
Are you being influenced by external persons to publish 44 consecutive negative articles on the TTPS?