back to article UK Home Office dangles £20m for national gun licence database system

The Home Office is looking to replace its ancient and creaky National Firearms Licensing Management System (NFLMS) in a £20m contract. NFLMS is the central police database of every firearm owner and every individual firearm in England and Wales. Whoever wins the contract will have a relatively low profile but critically …

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  2. wyatt

    Whilst this will undoubtedly benefit all, improvement needs to be made of the Firearms Licensing Teams as well. They're frequently poor or the issue with incorrect records.

    1. Vestas

      Spot on.

      You have more chance of Boris not lying for a day than you have of making contact with Leics Firearm Licensing "team" - ie none whatsoever.

      I know of several people who simply send a recorded delivery letter to the Leics team to prove they've complied with the law as in at least one instance it took the Leics team over 2 YEARS to acknowledge a firearms transfer notification. That was only after they threatened to prosecute the person transferring the firearm mind you!

      Plod are in general a total waste of oxygen IME.

    2. sad_loser

      Talking to a gun shop owner last month, he said that a lot of older gun owners were bringing their guns in for crushing because they could not cope with the electronic license renewal system. This may be a hidden benefit.

  3. John Robson Silver badge

    Vendors will have to move fast?

    Not be quick on the draw?

    1. Efer Brick

      Re: Vendors will have to move fast?

      Nice one McGraw, now stop horsing around!

    2. Hubert Cumberdale Silver badge
      Coat

      Re: Vendors will have to move fast?

      I'd reckon it's worth a shot though.

      1. eezatehgeeza
        Thumb Up

        Re: Vendors will have to move fast?

        The humour is on target as ever...

  4. David Lewis 2
    Coat

    Database?

    Surely all they need is a spreadsheet!

    1. wolfetone Silver badge
      Trollface

      Re: Database?

      This is just the thing that Microsoft Access was invented for!

    2. Yet Another Hierachial Anonynmous Coward

      Re: Database?

      They need to get Dido in to manage it. Or is this small and lowly project below her status?

      1. Pascal Monett Silver badge
        Trollface

        Of course it is. £5 puny million.

        Dido doesn't get up in the morning if she can't waste £100 million these days.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Database?

        It's below her status and above her capability.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Database?

          Which makes Dildo Harding the odds-on favourite to win the contract.

    3. ColinPa Silver badge

      Re: Database?

      Surely you mean two spread sheets (for HA)

      The spread sheet is the easy bit. Little things like providing audit trails of who was looking to see if their children/parents/neighbours have guns, is a bit harder.

      1. Barrie Shepherd

        Re: Database?

        I'm of the view that it should not matter.

        Let anyone know where the guns are - if gun owners don't want people to know they have a gun then they must have something to hide.

        (that's how the usual argument goes in relation to these matters isn't it?)

        The recent failures of guns being returned to clearly unsuitable owners without warnings to those close to them is proof enough.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Database?

          Lets just say hypothetically that you told everybody who owned what, and what their address was.

          In doing so, you would create a situation where you could look at whom owns a gunpowder era muzzle loading musket (widely used for re-enactment, as well as niche clay pigeon shooting) as anybody with a musket loaded with loose gunpowder will legally own and store several kilograms of gunpowder for firing them.

          Do you not feel that names and addresses for people who own commercial off the shelf explosives might not be quite useful information for terrorists who can't figure out how to brew their own?

          You are of course entitled to your view that "it should not matter" giving everybody this information. I'm entitled to hold different view; that giving everybody this information is criminally stupid in both the literal and metaphorical sense.

          1. Tom 7 Silver badge

            Re: Database?

            My Grandad used to store gunpowder for use in a 'toy' cannon. I dont think there was a single person in Cambridge who didnt know where he lived that wasn't stone deaf.

        2. Robert Grant Silver badge

          Re: Database?

          I love this idea of broadcasting to everyone the location of every gun in the country. For your next trick, will you be proposing unaccompanied tours of operating nuclear submarines?

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Database?

        Office 365 logging will tell you that.

    4. Dr Fidget

      Re: Database?

      And proof that they went to Eton - or live down the road from a Cabinet Minister

  5. VoiceOfTruth

    The contract will go to one of the 'usual suspects'

    Costs will overrun due to unforeseen problems, the sort of unforeseen problems that would have been foreseen if only the company that gets the contract has done its job properly.

    It won't work properly due to unforeseen problems, etc, etc.

    Lessons will be learned on how to botch up the next contract. It didn't work last time so won't work next time.

    Government contracts = tax payers money for old rope.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: The contract will go to one of the 'usual suspects'

      Why bother with anything more complex than a SQL Server DB somewhere and a .Net app knocked up a few days by a couple of interns looking to get some experience?

      Nope! Let's spend £10m on some over complicated cloud based bollocks that will than need an extra £5m to finish it and a whole new team, 'cos the first team so poorly managed they all start in-fighing during the development stage ( more likely the design stage if they even bother with that bit! ).

      You think I'm being flippant, I worked on UK Gov IT projects back in the mid-90s, they were just one big fecking gravy train. Worked in a project that assembled a team of 12 and there were 3 devs, 2 admins and 7 managers! I'm serious, 7/12 people in a team were "managers"/enablers/advisors. I once watched 3 of these so called managers spend a Friday afternoon in the office making paper airplanes AFTER they'd come back from from a 2 hour liquid lunch all paid on expenses 'cos some big-wig civil servant came out to catch up on the project progress, they footed the bill ( or should I say, we all footed the bill through taxes! ).

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: The contract will go to one of the 'usual suspects'

        Get with the times. Node.js and MongoDB.

      2. steviebuk Silver badge

        Re: The contract will go to one of the 'usual suspects'

        VERY similar to the NHS. Back in 2007 and still the same after my last tiny visit. Had an argument with another pointless manager about IT tickets he said "I do not want anyone cherry picking tickets anymore. I want you all to do the quick win tickets" I said they are both the same. A quick win ticket is a cherry picked ticket because its easy. He argued it wasn't the same, I kept on it was. Eventually I gave up because he was never going to listen.

        So much is wasted at the NHS with knob and pointless managers like that.

      3. Robert Grant Silver badge

        Re: The contract will go to one of the 'usual suspects'

        No point paying a SQL Server licence - just use Postgres.

      4. rg287 Silver badge

        Re: The contract will go to one of the 'usual suspects'

        Why bother with anything more complex than a SQL Server DB somewhere and a .Net app knocked up a few days by a couple of interns looking to get some experience?

        Nope! Let's spend £10m

        I thought an SQL Server DB and a .NET app was all that £10m bought you these days? At least if it's from the usual "expert consultancies".

        Coming from the usual consultancies, it will of course be developed by a couple of interns or "junior consultants" fresh off a 6 month java crash course which has taken them from zero coding experience to... whatever experience you have after a 6month course.

    2. badflorist

      Re: The contract will go to one of the 'usual suspects'

      "Government contracts = tax payers money for old rope."

      As a US citizen who isn't trying to impose you should have more firearms but, you should have more taxes :-P (that's all this shit is about here in the USA... nothing else). Not that your English government doesn't care if you have a weapon and shouldn't, but they most certainly care if you should be paying a fee and aren't !! And of course your taxes should be used so that you can always pay your taxes (minus the 90% pocket development money).

      Capitalism... good times... good times.

  6. Pascal Monett Silver badge
    Coat

    To think

    A Domino R12 server with a dedicated application that would take me three weeks to implement, and can have thousands of clients replicating without trouble and ensure proper access only to those who need it.

    I'll just take £1 million, and your thanks.

    1. Boris the Cockroach Silver badge
      FAIL

      Re: To think

      Sorry your bid has been turned down

      1. Too cheap

      2. Too quick

      3. Too easy

      4. Serious lack of opportunities for meetings/jollies at taxpayers expense

      5. Not enough cash left in your budget to grease a pig let alone several senior tory MPs

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: To think

        Does one /have/ to grease the pig or can one f!ck it in the mouth dry?

    2. Outski Silver badge

      Re: To think

      Not to mention a bloody good audit trail

    3. Korev Silver badge
      Coat

      Re: To think

      A Domino R12 server with a dedicated application that would take me three weeks to implement, and can have thousands of clients replicating without trouble and ensure proper access only to those who need it.

      That sounds like a magic bullet

      1. Korev Silver badge
        Coat

        Re: To think

        Does that database support triggers?

        1. DJV Silver badge

          Re: To think

          You're bang on with that question!

    4. karlkarl Silver badge

      Re: To think

      They have already chosen Microsoft (due to an underhanded exchange of *ehem* free pens).

      However they will absolutely use your bid as a bargaining chip when negotiating so it isn't a complete waste of time... for them.

  7. Terry 6 Silver badge

    Bids

    Interested parties for the NFLMS replacement contract need to get their acts together quickly; the deadline for expressions of interest is 2359 on 14 March.

    I wonder which friend-of-a-minister is on their holidays until the 13th.

    1. Neil Barnes Silver badge
      Coat

      Re: Bids

      2359? That's centuries away!

      1. TeeCee Gold badge
        Meh

        Re: Bids

        It'll still be late.

    2. spold Silver badge

      Re: Bids

      It means it is already wired for someone who has already made a pitch - short response times mean the favoured company is ready to go...

      1. smot

        Re: Bids

        What's that? Another oven-ready solution?

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Tracking

    I get that this is for law abiding owners to document what they own so governments can disarm them incase of rebellion and that criminals can look it up to know what house to rob, but what does it do to stop criminals? or are there other uses? oh yes, registration fees/taxes to fund government tax programs, never mind.

    1. spold Silver badge

      Re: Tracking

      It doesn't do much to directly make a dent in crime since criminals tend to use unregistered illegal guns. Licensed gun owners are typically very responsible people, have been screened, and secure guns against theft. It can be used to run people convicted of other crimes through it to see if there is a match and if so consider revoking their license and seizing firearms (e.g. if someone is convicted for spousal abuse).

      1. Ben Tasker

        Re: Tracking

        > It doesn't do much to directly make a dent in crime since criminals tend to use unregistered illegal guns.

        It does make for a slightly easier prosecution when you catch them though. By definition, there needs to be a registration system for anything to be considered unregistered.

        > Licensed gun owners are typically very responsible people, have been screened, and secure guns against theft

        And again, that's because there's a registration system in place. Without a registration system, there's no *verifiable* screening system in place. Criminals would generally still use stolen firearms, but they'd have a much wider base of people to nick firearms from.

    2. Cederic Silver badge

      Re: Tracking

      This is not a public database so the only criminals accessing it will be those working for the police. Possibly also the Home Office and various security services.

      Does it stop criminals? Well, we could compare gun violence in the UK to countries that don't have a national firearms register. The UK has no shortage of naughty people but firearms just aren't standard EDC for the law non-abiding here.

      1. Gene Cash Silver badge

        Re: Tracking

        This is not a public database

        Oh it will be. It's already been hacked and leaked once already.

        1. General Purpose Silver badge

          Re: Tracking

          >It's already been hacked and leaked once already.

          When was that? The Guntrader hack was reported here https://www.theregister.com/2021/07/23/guntrader_hacked_111k_users_sql_database/ but was a hack of the UK National Firearms Licensing Management System ever reported?

    3. rg287 Silver badge

      Re: Tracking

      but what does it do to stop criminals? or are there other uses?

      On a serious note, the main thing it does - more so than registering firearms in-and-of-itself - is to cross-reference with systems like PNC/PND.

      One of the major findings in the Cullen Enquiry was that the perpetrator of the Dunblane Shootings was adversely known to local Police, having been subject to a number of complaints regarding his conduct towards young boys during the "Boys Camps" and Gymnastics clubs he ran (he had already been thrown out as a leader by the Scouts).

      The Firearms Licensing team however did not know this - because it was on a bit of paper in a filing cabinet in the cellar behind the... you know where this is going.

      On the flip side, the community Policing team did not know he was a Firearm Certificate holder because the Licensing system (which may have been locally computerised IIRC) was basically just contained within the Licensing office - you'd need to have a reason to pick up the phone and ask them to run a name for you, which officers didn't bother doing unless there was a salient reason to do so.

      It was for this reason that the Cullen Inquiry eviscerated Central Scotland Police for a number of failings and did not recommend the prohibition of target pistols (a move that was described as unnecessary and indeed draconian in Cullen's Report). But by that stage Tony Blair had already made it an election issue so the taxpayer spent a great deal of money buying people's private property - and we got upset at Gove for being "bored of experts"!

      In the meantime, Firearms crime rose unabated until Operation Trident started to kick in, circa 2004 - because the Police admitted in 1997 that >98% of firearms crime was committed with firearms that had never been registered ( i.e. not stolen or misused by licensed owners, but smuggled or illicitly manufactured guns), which a prohibition would have absolutely no impact on.

  9. Richard 12 Silver badge
    Alert

    Five working days!?

    So they've already chosen which Tory donor is getting the contract.

  10. Rich 2

    How much????

    20 million quid for what is a pretty straight forward database application that someone familiar with this type of thing could probably knock up on a couple of months?

    How could anyone spend more than a few 10s of thousands on this - even if they tried REALLY hard? Who the f***k comes up with these ridiculous budgets?

    1. VoiceOfTruth

      Re: How much????

      Home Office logo 'redesign' a few years back: £20,000 for a curved line.

    2. I am the liquor

      Re: How much????

      Something that deals with "170,000 licence grants, renewals and variations per year" hardly seems like a "large-scale database" does it. I could see low-mid 6 figures for this but £20 million is a boondoggle.

    3. Jellied Eel Silver badge

      Re: How much????

      Easy. Must run on Oracle. So £19m to cover the cost of licence specialists to make sure the licence database is correctly licenced.

      Or given the short notice, I suspect the winner has already been decided. This is just to make it look like open tender rules are being followed. It's also why I hate government contracts. You get an ITT, knowing your invitation is just to make up the numbers. Or there's insufficient time to actually put a decent bid together and get it approved.

      On the plus side ITTs and RFPs usually include a lot of wafflebollocks that can be answered with a decent bid library's boilerplate collection. No, we don't use slave labour, it just feels that way sometimes. Unless you count the interns working in bid production. We're committed to the environment, and have lowered carbon emissions by using 2pt fonts, single spaced, and double sided.

    4. rg287 Silver badge

      Re: How much????

      20 million quid for what is a pretty straight forward database application that someone familiar with this type of thing could probably knock up on a couple of months?

      On a serious note, there's probably a lot of nuance once you start asking it to interface with PNC/PND, passively provision for interfacing with DVLA & Health records - the paperwork & auditing required to get the necessary approvals and access to such sensitive systems is probably non-trivial.

      But yeah, also it'll be outsourced to one of the usual consultancies selling you fresh-faced grads at £800/hr.

      High single-digit millions is fair. Twenty... hmmm.

      1. coderguy

        Re: How much????

        Not really,

        You're looking at the kind of design a bankaccount application you find in most technical interviews.

        e.g. transfer serial# to new keeper in a transaction.

        There's absolutely nothing special going on here that warrants that budget.

  11. Bitsminer Bronze badge

    opportunity for manglement

    ...key requirement of the new system is that it is flexible, adaptive to change and future refinement

    Which can be translated to:

    We don't know what we want, but once we see it then it will be subject to management review.

  12. Great Bu

    Why bother at all ?

    Just move over to the much better system we have in the US of A - don't bother keeping any record at all, just buy whatever guns you want at WalMart and if the government wants to know if you own them, open fire !

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Why bother at all ?

      We have far less gun crime here because of the laws that make owning them do difficult.

      You can keep your 'right to bear arms'. If you can legally own a .50cal sniper rifle then there is only one use for that apart from hunting Elephants which you don't have in the wild in the USA, and that is to kill people or rather obliterate them with a .50 cal round.

      A place where is is assumed that you have a gun and will use it even in a traffic stop is not somewhere I want to live.... Oh wait... I did live in Dallas for 5 years in the 1990's and was so glad to leave. I was the only person on my block who didn't own at least two guns. A rifle and a Shotgun were the norm.

      1. Woodnag

        It varies by the State in US

        In CA even owning .50 BMG ammo is illegal, let alone even a bolt action rifle chambered for it.

        See https://professional-troublemaker.com/category/gun-rights/ for how difficult it is to get a gun license in New York City.

        Also, a pump action shotgun is cheap, and makes a distinct sound when chambering a cartridge that makes most perps decide to be elsewhere rather than continue with a home invasion.

        Lastly, talking to people that hunt wild pigs, a large caliber revolver is popular as a backup weapon because if you fail to kill the pig with a rifle, they are somewhat unhappy and often go for the shooter.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: It varies by the State in US

          > Also, a pump action shotgun is cheap, and makes a distinct sound when chambering a cartridge that makes most perps decide to be elsewhere rather than continue with a home invasion.

          I was reading some updated advice recently aimed at US citizens.

          They were warning against chambering your shotgun like that - rather than dissuade the intruder, it can equally give them some idea of which bit of the wall to shoot through.

          I think, generally, it's still better to live in a society where most criminals, including burglars don't tend to have a firearm of their own.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: It varies by the State in US

            > I think, generally, it's still better to live in a society where most criminals, including burglars don't tend to have a firearm of their own.

            This is true, but the genie's out of the bottle on that one in the US.

      2. Is It Me
        Black Helicopters

        Re: Why bother at all ?

        You can own a ".50cal sniper rifle" in the UK, you just need to have good reason, which is long range target shooting on a range that allows it.

        There was an attempt to make them illegal to own a few years ago but the people that own and shoot them were able to push enough evidence in to the review that they were kept as legal.

        The other types of firearms that were made illegal were type of rapid(ish) firing ones.

      3. rg287 Silver badge

        Re: Why bother at all ?

        If you can legally own a .50cal sniper rifle then there is only one use for that apart from hunting Elephants which you don't have in the wild in the USA, and that is to kill people or rather obliterate them with a .50 cal round.

        Err.... you can legally own an .50cal in the UK - and indeed every single nation in Europe. Funnily enough, you can't in California. Great Britain1 is also the only place in Europe to prohibit target pistols, yet is far from the safest place in Europe. Czechia and Italy both have homicide rates half ours, despite having rates of gun ownership 3-10x higher than GB. The others - France, Germany, etc have 3x higher gun ownership but about the same murder rate.

        What guns you let people own is broadly irrelevant if you have a robust licensing regime. European nations do, the US doesn't. But with licensing in place people can own AK47s (per Czechia) at no risk to the public.

        The main reason for owning a "Big Fifty" is very-long-range target shooting. You can't play with ballistics shooting .22 at 50metres (which is also perfectly fun - but different) in the same way you can when lobbing 700grain bullets across Wales.

        1. I specify Great Britain rather than "UK", because England-Scotland-Wales are the only bit of Europe to prohibit target pistols. Northern Ireland didn't bother, nor did the Channel Islands, Gibraltar nor Isle of Man. Literally just the mainland. Twenty years on, our experiment has objectively shown that we're no safer for it.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Why bother at all ?

      I for one LIKE my government not knowing what if any guns I own and it being perfectly legal for me to own them without the government knowing.

      This system apparently will handle less than half the number of licensed guns that the US federal system handles every year. And the only guns that deals with are things like sawed off shotguns, short barreled rifles, guns over .50 caliber (including artillery and grenade launchers), and actual machineguns.

      1. Ben Tasker

        Re: Why bother at all ?

        > guns over .50 caliber (including artillery and grenade launchers)

        What the ACTUAL fuck America?

        1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

          Re: Why bother at all ?

          You could own those in the UK. Just needs an s.5 firearms licence, and some very plausible justification.

          US approach is similar. NFA includes 'special' weapons and components you could licence from the ATF and buy a stamp for. That leads to some oddities. So NFA defines SBRs (Short Barreled Rifle) based on some defined characteristics, so need an ATF licence & registration. Or buy a 5.56mm 'pistol' with an arm brace that looks like an SBR, but apparently isn't.

          .50 cals are mostly legal, and allow YT owners to shoot themselves in the head. That's more a training issue, ie shooting AR500 plate set at 90° from point blank range is a rather bad idea. Or other oddities, like the Raufoss Mk 211. Contains RDX or PETN high explosive, and popular on YT.

          Gun politics is weird like that. As are people. Buy a Barret .50 because it's cool and heavily advertised. Tell yourself it's because .50BMG is the best long-range cartridge. Don't ask why competitive shooters use cartridges like 6mm PPC, 6.5 Creedmore, or even .338 Lapua instead.

        2. ExampleOne

          Re: Why bother at all ?

          I believe one of the UKs preserved destroyers solved the problem of the ships guns by buying a gun license and ensuring the turrets were locked when not giving tours.

  13. codejunky Silver badge

    Shock

    "The result is a slow (as shown by the British Association for Shooting and Conservation's police force league table) and bureaucratic licensing system that is not really helped by its archaic central database."

    No way! Seriously! Who would believe it? After watching the hoops gun owners go through I am glad I never bothered although firing them is very enjoyable.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Shock

      Slow? For several months I kept my rifles and shotguns in their cabinets without valid certificates. I had applied in time, failed to complete the renewal application online simply because the system refused me access, so I reverted to the postal system. That generated several months of silence. The firearms inquiry number was only available for one hour a day, and then not always manned. Promises made to pass on my requests by police headquarters were either not fulfilled, or ignored.

      Knowing that I was in breach of the law by not having the licenses I finally asked my professional shooting organisation to intervene. The licenses arrived 24 hours later.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Shock

        When I renewed, I received a Temporary Permit within a week, which indicated that they were not going to get it renewed before expiring.

        Home Office Guidance used to state that renewals should not be accepted more than two months prior to expiry (a clear indication that renewals should be turned around in under 8 weeks). That line has been quietly excised from more recent versions, presumably knowing that Police Chiefs have skeleton-staffed their Firearms Licensing Offices under austerity (see: Plymouth shootings).

        In the end my renewal took in excess of 6 months. Fortunately I am only a target shooter. Were I a vocational shooter requiring the guns for work or pest control, that would be a significant problem. Likewise for our Olympic teams who need a valid Certificate to travel.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I once had guns

    But given the reporting and licensing hassles and lack of a use case, I handed them in.

    Maybe a farmer might need a rifle for stock put downs, but us suburban warriors don’t need them.

    (Target shooters aside)

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Everyone and their mum has a gun around here.

      Farmers.

      Farmers mums.

  15. Pianoman99

    With such a tight deadline it does suggest they've already made up their minds.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      How are you suggest that?

      No minds needed for that decision.

  16. s. pam
    Childcatcher

    Whilst this may be a real shot in the dark

    Please don't let the contract go to some luvvies' firm as it will take 3 times longer than expected and cost 5X more than budgeted! That would lead us to shooting ourselves in the head, again!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Whilst this may be a real shot in the dark

      Start with the foot.

      Move on to the elbow, the one you keep your brains in.

  17. Barrie Shepherd

    https://bidstats.uk/tenders/2022/W10/770244645

    Early Market Engagement Event Notification

    EARLY? Released on 7th March (Monday) Closed 13th March (Sunday) = 5 Working days = someone has been lined up for this.

    Further it's only for "Law Enforcement Services across England and Wales." What about Scotland & NI? Are gun ownership laws different there? Will they waste another dollop of OUR money on a Scottish version to "reflect the widely held pride in Scottish Gun Owning History". All the enhanced gun legislation was started by a gun incident in Scotland after all.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      yes laws in scotland are different

      1. rg287 Silver badge

        yes laws in scotland are different

        Not appreciably so though. They're pretty much identical except that the Scottish Government decided they wanted to license airguns and lobbied for the power to do so.

        There's no reason why Police Scotland would need to use a different system - they're a Home Office Force who currently used NFLMS like everybody else and use the same paperwork as everyone else - it's just they'd be the only ones ever selecting the menu option of "airgun".

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      a "gun incident" in Scotland - WTF?

      "All the enhanced gun legislation was started by a gun incident in Scotland after all."

      No it wasn't. UK gun laws were tightened up after the 1987 mass shooting in Hungerford. (And probably in response to earlier atrocities too.) The last time I looked Hungerford was in darkest Berkshire, some ~400 miles away from Scotland. Sadly, those measures were too ineffective to prevent the carnage in Dunblane.

      Passing off the Dunblane mass murder as "a gun incident in Scotland" is a bit like saying WW1 was a bit of argy-bargy in some Belgian trenches. Or are you one of those gun nutjobs who argue the infants in Dunblane primary school should have been armed with submachine guns and flame throwers so they could have taken out the mass murderer who attacked them?

      Every 10 years or so, some nutjob in the UK uses firearms to commit mass murder and the gun laws get tightened up. I'm fine with that - though obviously not the mass killing bit beforehand.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: a "gun incident" in Scotland - WTF?

        or the police could just do their job and follow the existing laws. The police were heavily criticized in the dunblane enquiry, which people seem to forget

      2. rg287 Silver badge

        Re: a "gun incident" in Scotland - WTF?

        Every 10 years or so, some nutjob in the UK uses firearms to commit mass murder and the gun laws get tightened up. I'm fine with that - though obviously not the mass killing bit beforehand.

        I mean, it'd probably be better if the Government (and Police) did what the experts told them to do instead of just banning something because it made good headlines (Cullen specifically noted that there was no point banning anything post-Dunblane and that this was unlikely to be effective).

        That might help avoid the next mass shooting. But I appreciate our politicians like a headline. Things like "You've underfunded the Police for years and not spent any money on back-office or professional services" are a lot less sexy than "We're banning stuff" (from the ever-dwindling pool of things remaining available to be banned).

        You shouldn't be fine with government arbitrarily tightening laws (in any area of law). You should be asking "Why the f- didn't you do what the experts told you to do last time?".

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Independence-ready IT systems

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    funny enough I'm just doing my shotgun renewal as we speak. This WILL be another shit show, just like the last DB was, overly complicated and something that an IT apprentice could knock up in a few weeks using Access! Not sure why they need to fling £M's at it. Another government IT gravy train for CAPITA I expect.

    And also it would be nice if the government spent some cash on improving firearms licensing teams. I now have to provide extra levels of Bullshit from my GP (that we will rob me blind for) because D&C police managed to utterly FECKUP the licensing of the loony who went on the rampage in Plymouth last year. The guidance that police firearms dept were meant to follow were ALREADY in place. If D&C had done their job properly several people in Plymouth would still be alive today, but instead of focusing on that lets make even MORE regulations that poor old firearm's owners now have to follow. For those who don't know the loony who went on to shoot dead several people in Plymouth should NEVER have had a shotgun issued in the first instance, he then had it removed by D&C as he was charged with assult and then D&C decided to give it back to him!!!!!! Several other mass shooting in the UK were also caused in part by failures of the police to DO THEIR JOB and follow licensing guidance that were ALREADY in force. But instead of sacking incompetent police officers and chief constables we'll just bring in MORE regulations which in turn the police DON'T follow! And repeat.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Shouty, shouty

      You come across as angry and possibly mentally unstable => unfit to have a firearm or licence.

      The cure for your rage and gun love would be to live in Texas. Try it.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Shouty, shouty

        just fed up of going through hoops when the police just continue to not do their job

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Shouty, shouty

        I'm not sure that's going to cure their rage and not just enable it.

    2. codejunky Silver badge

      @AC

      Dunno why you are AC for that. Good comment. Legal gun owners are assumed to be nut jobs while nut jobs slip through existing regulations anyway. Best of luck with your renewal process.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: @AC

        exactly that! If the police are incapable of following the existing legislation why bring in more for them not to follow?

  19. Ken Moorhouse Silver badge

    The contract will be awarded...

    ...to the bidder with the best bullet points.

  20. Robert Grant Silver badge

    170000 records, +5% a year, maximum 5 transactions per second...spend £400/mo on redundant AWS Postgreses and you have your database. Now you just need a cheap application layer on top and some payments integration and you're done!

    £2m/year for 2 years then £500k/yr subsequently? Tops?

  21. Blitheringeejit
    Facepalm

    Oops

    Correction - according to the notice, the deadline was 11:59 today, not 23:59 - so thanks to El Reg I've missed my gravy train!

    Also - the contact email shown (and mailto-linked) on the notice is NASCommercail@homeoffice.gov.uk - which I can't help thinking is mis-spelled (unless Commercail is a new gummint jargon item) so probably doesn't work. I wonder how many emails they received...

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Just pay a few FTE's 30k a year, and manage it with an Excel spreadsheet. It's 170k people.. why does it need a 20 million pound Yet Another Failed Government IT Project?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      all the same comments were made at the time they spunked nearly £7M of our cash on the first national firearms database! That had a budget of £5M which was bonkers but £20M!!!!! for something that is hardly a massive or complicated DB

  23. anonymous boring coward Silver badge

    £20m for a little database? Presumably £19.9m of that will go into some crony pockets?

    1. coderguy

      Maybe report it to the NAO [1], most llikely you'll be shouting into the wind, but it's better than nothing.

      [1] - https://www.nao.org.uk/contact-us/contact-us/

    2. This post has been deleted by its author

  24. 89724102172714182892114I7551670349743096734346773478647892349863592355648544996312855148587659264921 Bronze badge

    At least 1 in every 411 people in the UK legally owns a gun - that's far too common for my liking... Is there really that much sports shooting? Or are they mostly used in the ever increasing number of Gary Larson's horse hospitals?

    https://i.redd.it/4mq0c7k52j441.png

    1. rg287 Silver badge

      At least 1 in every 411

      Where did you get that figure?

      It's more like 1-in-100 (~650k Certificates on issue across 65million people. 130-170k will renew each year).

      1% of the population is quite a lot in any sort of social statistics. It's the sort of numbers you start legislating for. Just by way of context, the British Sikh community makes up ~0.5% of the UK population and we have special exceptions in offensive weapon legislation allowing them to carry Kirpans for religious reasons. A few of them shoot as well. Lovely bunch, very strong community spirit.

      that's far too common for my liking... Is there really that much sports shooting?

      Yes. And it's not that many. It's more like 1-in-20/30 in Germany/France/Italy/Czechia, all of which have similar or better homicide rates than the UK. Gun crime doesn't correlate to prevalence of firearm ownership (you could only reach that conclusion by comparing UK vs. US in isolation, which is clearly statistically invalid). Once you have sensible licensing in place and enforce it, then it doesn't really matter in principle whether gun ownership runs to 1/5/10% because the people involved are all vetted and approved.

      We're also quite good at shooting, and it's a growing sport - a World Cup Gold medal was won today in Cyprus, the Target Sprint team won 4 medals in Cairo two weeks ago and more than 300 school children attended the recent School Championship Finals in the West Midlands, with many more having participated in the heat stages.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        if only the police were doing their jobs properly, eh?

  25. coderguy
    Flame

    How ?

    Dear $deity, In what universe does something like this cost £20m?

    On the assumption, it'll be using an even slightly modern stack, it's maybe a months work for a single developer.

    Add in testing and operational costs, and you're in the region of tens of thousands at most!

    FFS, I've seen technical interview questions that would be harder to implement. This smells very much like a way to shift government funds into donor pockets and needs investigating. Maybe there's more to it? I am not in a place to comment.

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