The heavy cost of administering firearms licensing, paid by Nottinghamshire taxpayers, has prompted Police and Crime Commissioner Paddy Tipping to personally urge the Prime Minister to support an increase in fees.
Mr Tipping has written to David Cameron (Friday, 29 August) pointing out that the costs to police forces in administering the scheme far outweighs the income generated from fees.
This year, the cost of firearm licensing in Nottinghamshire is more than £450,000, the Commissioner says. Yet the income received from fees was around £82,000 in 2012-2013 and £56,000 in 2013-14, with a broadly similar sum anticipated this year.
He goes on: “It is difficult to justify public support for shooting sports in Nottinghamshire of around £400,000 per annum when difficult decisions about police priorities, including the loss of police officers, are being made.
“Fees have not been increased since 1 January 2001 and nationally, the cost to the public purse of firearm licensing is estimated at £23.7m, the amount recovered thought to be £6.4m, leaving a shortfall of £17.3million.”
The Commissioner believes that organisations representing shooting recognise the costs involved in administering the lengthy and time-consuming licensing process – and would accept a fee increase provided they receive an efficient and speedy service.
Mr Tipping is one of a number of Police and Crime Commissioners who have written to the Prime Minister about the need to raise the fees when budgets are tight and police funding cuts continue to bite. During the discussions he has had for some time with the Home Office, Mr Tipping has pressed the strong case for increasing fees. He now wants the Prime Minister to take the necessary action to allow the fee income to be increased.
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Posted on Monday 1st September 2014