Derbyshire Police and Crime Commissioner Alan Charles today warmly welcomed proposals to increase gun licensing fees to enable police to recover processing costs.
The Home Office this week announced it is carrying out a consultation asking stakeholders whether firearms licensing fees, which are administered by the police, should be increased. It is also inviting comments on how the review process should be managed.
The proposals have been developed in conjunction with a number of partners including the shooting community. The aim is to enable police forces to receive full recovery of the costs associated with issuing firearms and shotgun certificates when a new online system is operational.
Commissioner Charles has campaigned strongly for an increase in the firearms licensing fee since being elected and was among a number of PCCs nationally to lobby the Government over the issue.
Commenting on the announcement, he said: “This is a positive step forward and one that we have been challenging the Government on for some time.
“Police forces simply cannot afford to absorb the costs of processing licensing fees in their budgets at a time when our resources are severely restricted. The Government has made it clear that it wants police forces to make every penny count when it comes to protecting the public so it’s only right that we bring an end to the loss of precious operational policing funds in the name of sport.
“The current system, which expects the public to subsidise shooting for sport, recreation or work, simply isn’t acceptable, particularly when so many other areas of community safety are being pulled back.
“Police forces should be entitled to recover the full costs of administering a firearms licence without exception. The argument that farmers require a firearms license for work purposes has no foundation. HGV drivers also require a license for work purposes but they have to pay for it themselves. These issues need to be addressed as part of any reform of the current system.”
Currently gun license application fees do not cover the administration costs of processing them, which means police forces across the UK have to heavily subsidise the administration. The system has not been reviewed since 2001 and the Association of Chief Police Officers has previously said it costs the public an estimated £23.7m annually. However, the police only recover about £6.4m of this total in fees.
It has recommended the Government almost double the cost of applying for a license from £50 to more than £100 by 2015 to help fund the administration procedure.
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Posted on Monday 1st December 2014