Home Office proposals to raise the fees of firearms licensing administered by the police have been welcomed by Nottinghamshire Police and Crime Commissioner Paddy Tipping.
Consultations with MPs have now begun in line with arguments that Mr Tipping and other Commissioners have put to both the Home Office and the Prime Minister.
“I am pleased that the consultation is now underway and I hope that common sense prevails,” Commissioner Tipping said. “This year the cost of firearm licensing in Nottinghamshire is more than £450,000 yet the income received in 2013-14 was only £56,000.
“That is clearly a huge and unjustifiable cost to our communities who repeatedly tell me that they want to see their money spent on police officers on patrol,” he added.
Mr Tipping wrote to David Cameron in August pointing out that the income received from fees was a great deal less than the cost of administering the scheme. This, he said, made it difficult to justify public support for shooting sports at a time of continuing police funding cuts.
MPs are now being consulted on proposals to raise the fees for the first time since January 2001. If approved, the plan is to enable police forces to achieve full cost recovery for the issuing of firearms and shotgun certificates when an eCommerce system currently being developed becomes operational next year.
Nationally, the cost to the public purse of firearm licensing is estimated at £23.7m and the amount recovered thought to be £6.4m. MPs are now being asked for their views on increased fees which, for example, would mean that a firearm grant now costing £50 would be raised to £88 and a firearm renewal raised from £40 to £62.
The Home Office has worked with partners to develop their proposals which involve initial piloting of the online system followed by roll-out next year.
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Posted on Tuesday 2nd December 2014