Gun li­cences cost­ing po­lice £100k a year

Birmingham Post - - NEWS -

WEST Mid­lands Po­lice is los­ing nearly £100,000 a year sub­si­dis­ing firearm li­cence ap­pli­ca­tions from the pub­lic, it has been claimed.

That is the amount the force has to pay out over and above the ap­pli­ca­tion fees paid by the re­gion’s 10,000 li­cenced gun own­ers. The fees, set by the Home Of­fice na­tion­ally, range from £49 to re­new a shot­gun cer­tifi­cate to £90 for a fresh com­bined shot­gun and firearm li­cence. They need to be re­newed ev­ery five years.

But West Mid­lands Po­lice and Crime Com­mis­sioner David Jamieson says each ap­pli­ca­tion costs the force an av­er­age of £36.85 over and above the fee.

Last year the force han­dled 2,659 ap­pli­ca­tions, cost­ing £98,000 – enough to pay for two ex­tra PCs.

Mr Jamieson said: “Re­spon­si­ble gun own­er­ship is per­fectly le­gal, but hard­pressed po­lice forces shouldn’t be tak­ing a fi­nan­cial hit to fa­cil­i­tate them. The charges the gov­ern­ment set should cover po­lice costs. The gov­ern­ment sets the charges that Po­lice and Crime Com­mis­sion­ers can charge for cer­tifi­cate ap­pli­ca­tions.

“The sim­ple truth is that the rates the gov­ern­ment set are sub­si­dis­ing gun own­er­ship and harm­ing po­lice num­bers. I could re­cruit ex­tra of­fi­cers if I was al­lowed to re­cover costs on gun li­cenc­ing.”

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