Sir Julian Lewis: Is it correct, as has been reported, that in this tragic case, the murderer’s mother appealed to the police to remove the returned firearm from him and was ignored? If that is true, is it not also the case that no change in any licensing system will be able to compensate for that level of bungling incompetence?
[The Minister for Crime, Policing and Fire (Chris Philp): I am afraid to say that very bad decisions – in fact, wrong decisions – were made in this case. As the former policing Minister, my right hon. Friend the Member for North West Hampshire (Kit Malthouse) said, the wrong decisions were taken under the guidance in force both in 2018, when the licence was first granted, and two or three years later, when the gun was confiscated and then returned. The IOPC [Independent Office for Police Conduct] has said that very clearly, and it has said that two or three officers of Devon and Cornwall police made the wrong decision at the time. My right hon. Friend is right to say that a change of guidance would not have helped, because the wrong decisions were made under the guidance at the time. However, we need to make sure that the guidance is robust and comprehensive and that training is comprehensive. It is with those purposes in mind that we will respond to the three reports in 60 days or so.]