Inquiry launched into police firearms policy in wake of mass shooting

Police officers and flowers left in memory of the victims of the shooting
Support us and go ad-free

A firearms review is to be carried out into the police force which gave Jake Davison his licence and gun back just weeks before he killed five people in one of the UK’s worst mass shootings.

Checks

The inquiry into Devon and Cornwall Police’s firearms licensing procedures will be overseen by the National Police Chiefs’ Council. It’s the third investigation into the events of last week in which Jake Davison, 22, shot dead his own mother and four others in the Keyham area of Plymouth before turning the gun on himself.

The Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) is already investigating the decision by the Devon and Cornwall force to return Davison’s shotgun certificate and weapon to him. They were seized in December 2020 following an assault allegation the previous September and were returned to him in July.

Members of the public light candles as they attend a vigil for the community in Plymouth, Devon (Ben Birchall/PA)
Members of the public light candles as they attend a vigil for the community in Plymouth, Devon (Ben Birchall/PA)

The government has announced firearms applicants will be subject to social media checks. All police forces in England and Wales are being asked to review their current firearm application processes, as well as assess whether they need to revisit any existing licences.

Inquiry

The deaths of Maxine Davison, 51, Lee Martyn, 43, daughter Sophie, Stephen Washington, 59, and Kate Shepherd, 66, as well as Davison, are also the subject of an inquiry by Plymouth coroner Ian Arrow.

Read on...

Support us and go ad-free

The peer review was announced by Devon and Cornwall police and crime commissioner Alison Hernandez. She said:

I have spent considerable time with this community after this appalling incident and want to reassure them that we stand with them at this tremendously difficult time. Not only have they lost much-loved friends and family members but they have found themselves at the centre of a sometimes intrusive national and international media presence.

The impact of this will be felt by this community for a long time.

I want to let the people of Keyham know that after the initial attention has died down we will still be there for them. We must not jump to conclusions about the reasons for these heinous crimes but await the Independent Office of Police Conduct’s investigation, a National Police Chiefs’ Council-led inquiry into the police’s procedures and the coroner’s report as we seek to fully understand what, if any, changes may need to be made into firearms licensing procedures.

I am assisting the chief constable to organise a fast review of the general procedures of firearms licensing in Devon and Cornwall to ensure they are following national guidance correctly.

We will also be working with police and crime commissioners from around the country to ensure that if there are lessons to be learned about licensing procedures in England and Wales these will be shared with colleagues from around the country.

A forensic officer carries an evidence bag in Biddick Drive in the Keyham area of Plymouth, Devon (ben Birchall/PA)
A forensic officer carries an evidence bag in Biddick Drive in the Keyham area of Plymouth, Devon (ben Birchall/PA)

Plymouth incident
Police on patrol in Keyham in Plymouth (Ben Birchall/PA)

Earlier this week, it emerged Davison received mental health support during the coronavirus lockdown and had been in contact with a telephone helpline service in Plymouth run by the Livewell Southwest organisation.

Social media usage by Davison suggested an obsession with “incel” culture, meaning “involuntary celibate”, as well as an interest in guns and the US.

Reports have suggested Davison’s mother had been struggling to get help for her son, having become concerned about his mental health.

Support us and go ad-free

We need your help to keep speaking the truth

Every story that you have come to us with; each injustice you have asked us to investigate; every campaign we have fought; each of your unheard voices we amplified; we do this for you. We are making a difference on your behalf.

Our fight is your fight. You’ve supported our collective struggle every time you gave us a like; and every time you shared our work across social media. Now we need you to support us with a monthly donation.

We have published nearly 2,000 articles and over 50 films in 2021. And we want to do this and more in 2022 but we don’t have enough money to go on at this pace. So, if you value our work and want us to continue then please join us and be part of The Canary family.

In return, you get:

* Advert free reading experience
* Quarterly group video call with the Editor-in-Chief
* Behind the scenes monthly e-newsletter
* 20% discount in our shop

Almost all of our spending goes to the people who make The Canary’s content. So your contribution directly supports our writers and enables us to continue to do what we do: speaking truth, powered by you. We have weathered many attempts to shut us down and silence our vital opposition to an increasingly fascist government and right-wing mainstream media.

With your help we can continue:

* Holding political and state power to account
* Advocating for the people the system marginalises
* Being a media outlet that upholds the highest standards
* Campaigning on the issues others won’t
* Putting your lives central to everything we do

We are a drop of truth in an ocean of deceit. But we can’t do this without your support. So please, can you help us continue the fight?

The Canary Support us