Cleveland’s Police and Crime Commissioner Barry Coppinger has welcomed progress to stop police funds being used to subsidise private gun ownership, after Home Office Minister Norman Baker confirmed that forces should not cover the shortfall.
Last year, Mr Coppinger called on the Government to do more, highlighting that in Cleveland taxpayers pay around £100,000 towards administering gun licenses - money that could instead fund extra police on the beat.
The PCC has been campaigning for the cost of gun licensing to be set by individual police commissioners, rather than by central Government, so that local costs are covered.
Nationally, the gun licensing system costs the police £23.7m to administer – with forces only receiving £6.4m back in fees. In a letter to Mr Coppinger this month, Norman Baker says that ‘police forces cannot be expected to meet any shortfall in the administration of firearms licenses’.
Speaking on the issue, Police and Crime Commissioner Barry Coppinger said: “It’s pleasing that the Government has listened to my concerns. What we need now is change to happen quickly so that in future the £17m intended for policing is not used to subsidise gun ownership.”
“My concerns are in no way critical of those who choose to legally own firearms. They simply come from a need to mitigate the reduction in the number of front line officers imposed by relentless budget cuts.”
Letter from Norman Baker MP, Minister of State, regarding Firearms Licencing (11 March 2014)
Response to Norman Baker MP, Minister of State, regarding Firearms Licencing (18 March 2014)
Posted on Thursday 27th March 2014