Regions police spends enough cash processing gun licences to fund five new officers - The Coventry Observer

Regions police spends enough cash processing gun licences to fund five new officers

Coventry Editorial 10th Apr, 2023   0

WEST Midlands Police spent nearly a quarter of a million pounds processing gun licences last year – enough to fund five new police officers.

The area’s Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) has welcomed plans to review the fees for gun licences – which cost police forces each time an application is processed because the fee charged does not fully cover the costs of vetting the individual and the associated bureaucracy.

According to PCC Simon Foster, last year the force area made a loss of £230,000 on the processing of licences.

In the West Midlands, it costs £50,000 for each new police officer, including training, equipment, salary and pension, which means the amount the force has been forking out for gun licences could have funded five new officers every year.

Nationally, police forces are thought to be subsidising gun licences to the tune of around £10million – the equivalent of 200 police officers.

Mr Foster and Staffordshire PCC Ben Adams have been urging the government, privately and publicly, to make changes to the gun licence fees.

Mr Foster said: “I have been urging the government to increase the cost of gun licences for a long time, so that gun owners pay the full cost of the necessary safety checks and admin associated with their licences.

“I see no reason why there should be fewer police officers on the beat because gun licences are not charged at a level that covers their costs.”

The Minister of state for Crime, Policing and Fire, Chris Philip MP, wrote to the PCCs to say he agreed that gun licence fees should cover the costs to police forces.

He also confirmed the Home Office had already commenced a review.

Mr Foster added: “I’m pleased that after so long the government seems to have finally heard my message and I’ve been listened to.

“Hopefully this will mean police forces, up and down the country, will no longer subsidise gun ownership and will use the money to tackle crime instead.”

The proposals for the new fees are due to be subject to a public consultation later this year, with the new fees introduced in the autumn.


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