A police and crime commissioner has asserted that police forces are “subsidising gun ownership” and called for the shotgun and firearms licence fee to rise.
David Jamieson quoted an annual loss of £100,000 in his own West Midlands constabulary, and extrapolated this to suggest a net £6.4m nationwide cost of administering the firearms licensing system.
BASC was quick to point out that just because Mr Jamieson’s own force was operating inefficiently, it didn’t mean the system wasn’t working nationwide.
The current pricing structure for shotgun and firearms certificate grants and renewals was set after a Home Office working group examined process costs in 2014, eventually setting an increased fee with a view to full cost removal once online processing was introduced.
Director of firearms Bill Harriman said: “If West Midlands are not making ends meet from fee levels deemed suitable by the working group, then his force has introduced an inefficiency into the process which has caused it to cost more than it should.
“West Midlands still carry out some administratively inefficient processes, for example land checks, invoking unnecessary conditions on firearm certificates and a failure to introduce ‘e-commerce’. Perhaps they should be examining failures closer to home.
“As firearms licensing is done for the public good, the prevention of crime and the preservation of public safety, then it is right that the public purse should bear a portion of the cost.
“To describe any excess cost as subsidising certificate holders is entirely wrong. It is actually a wise contribution towards public safety.“