Several weeks ago I wrote a disgruntled post about the absolute incompetence of the Qld Police Service Weapons Licensing Branch and the now commonplace but ridiculous and unjustifiable delays being experienced in processing paperwork though them. Delays of several weeks, and in some cases I’ve heard, months are becoming de rigeur when dealing with WLB in a manner that simply would not be acceptable in any other customer service oriented industry.
Well anyway, things have gone from bad to worse with WLB, but before I go off tit about them again, I feel the need to make a solid distinction here between the sheer incompetence I’m encountering at QPS Weapons Licensing Branch and the actual Queensland Police Service, meaning the guys on the street who are doing the actual policing. Over the last few months I have had nothing but positive, helpful, reassuring and timely interactions from the constables that have been here for us. They spend a goodly part of their day putting themselves in harms way by dealing with criminal types and alternately wasting time helping poor defenseless housewives with big bullying boofhead neighbour types and fun stuff like that. So huge kudos and big thumbs up for the guys on the street who have the potentially dangerous and thankless task of trying to keep us all safe from the worms and villains (way too much Latin in my head).
Back to Weapons Licensing Branch delays… it has been just over 12 months since my Cat H license was issued, and therefore according to legislation I may now legally apply to be issued a permit that would allow me obtain a centrefire pistol that would enable me to compete in centrefire pistol competitions. My club has CZ pistols that are available for use while we are waiting out the mandatory 12 months, but I have found that these are quite literally too large for my little hands and therefore difficult to operate effectively. I applied to WLB for an exemption to the waiting period on this basis, that I had no access to ergonomically suitable equipment to allow me to pursue my sport, but this request was denied. However, at this time (late March this year) I was informed that all my paperwork would be held and that my PTA (Form 28, Permit to Acquire Application) would be processed as soon as May 10th rocked around, and all would be well with the world.
As the magical May 10th approached, the day where I would no longer be a menace to the community should I be in possession of more than one sports target pistol, I contacted WLB only to find that the woman I had been dealing with was no longer working there. Meh, shit happens. However, the processing officer I now found myself dealing with informed me that the information I was given was incorrect – that there was no mechanism in place to ‘hold’ paperwork for processing for a certain date and that my previously submitted application (along with the $33.00 fee) were ‘gone’ and unable to reactivated or placed back into the system for processing.
Oh joy of joys 😐 More administrative incompetence and misinformation from WLB which in spite of my protestations resulted in me needing to reapply from scratch. So, I had to chase down the president of my club for an endorsement certificate (again), locate, download and print out the forms on my dodgy printer (again), look up all the old details, complete the forms, provide supporting documentation and keep copies of everything (again), go to a local police station and inform the officer behind the counter how this whole thing works (again) and, of course, pay my application fee (again)!!! To try to avoid further delays, WLB had requested that I have the police officer processing my application fax it to them asap, and mark it for the attention of the officer who had the misfortune to answer my phone call and was forced to reluctantly tell me I had been misinformed in March. The original documents were to follow by regular packet to WLB on the next working day. All this occurred on 11th May. I phoned the following week to ensure that my paperwork had arrived in a timely and hopefully unhindered fashion and was told that “it should be there but it wasn’t scanned into the system as yet, so I couldn’t be given a case ID (receipt no) for it” and to “please call back in a couple of days”. Okay fair enough, they are obviously dealing with considerable volume. Instead of calling however, I am now in the habit of attempting to leave a paper trail when dealing with these people, so I emailed an enquiry to the officer who had requested the fax to hopefully find out the status of my application… this was middle of last week nearly two weeks after the application was lodged. I thought I’d give them a couple of days to get back to me, because they’re generally useless bastards, and yesterday they duly called…. TO INFORM ME THAT NEITHER MY FAXED DOCUMENT NOR MY ORIGINAL PAPERWORK WERE ANYWHERE TO BE FOUND!!!! FFS!!! HOW IS THIS POSSIBLE???
They then put the onus back onto ME to check with my local police station to chase down when it was sent. Once armed with this information I had to call back WLB and tell them that it was sent on Monday 14th of May and btw, how the hell have they lost both a fax, marked for the personal attention of a processing officer, as well as the original documents that went by official internal mail??? A question for which they had no satisfactory response. So here’s me, late yesterday afternoon trying to coerce the world’s most recalcitrant piece of shit multi-function printer into sending another complete fax copy of my application to WLB. By the time we finished wrestling with it, it was after hours and I was unable to call to confirm that it had actually reached its destination. To date, I still don’t know if they have it.
One a good day, this is how I envisage paperwork is processed at QPS Weapons Licensing Branch, as it seems the only possible logical explanation for the continual bureaucratic bullshit, ridiculously slow processing times and complete incompetence that myself and many others experience when dealing with these people:
The mind absolutely boggles. If the Queensland Police Service can lose not one, but two copies of an official document of this nature, what else are they ‘losing’ on a regular basis?