“Although Cleveland Police was not one of the forces inspected during the HMIC inspection into the efficiency and effectiveness of firearms licensing in police forces up and down the country, I have discussed the findings with Cleveland Police and have been satisfied that the appropriate guidance and measures are in place to protect public safety.
“In early 2014, the Force launched a review of nearly 4000 firearms licence holders in Cleveland to ensure that all individuals with firearms licences have been issued with them in accordance with current legislation and guidance. Since that launch, 67 licences have been revoked and refused, and firearms recovered. Of 26 appeals against these revocations, just four were upheld.
“Despite a recent increase in the firearms licensing fee, it remains the case that forces are effectively subsidising applications, due to the cost of administering the certificates and registering each licence not being covered by the licence fee.
“I wrote to the Home Secretary back in the summer of 2013 when the Home Office was conducting a review of firearms licensing fees. The fee was £50 then and had been since 2000.
“In my letter I pointed out that the cost to Cleveland Police of administering certificates and registering each licence was increasing year on year while revenue was shrinking. My suggestion to the Home Secretary was that PCC’s across the UK should be allowed to set fees to reflect local costs.
“In recent years the Comprehensive Spending Review has meant unprecedented cuts to the police service and therefore this shortfall is untenable. It is my view that the Government could do more to assist forces, who should be using funds to pay for more officers on the streets rather than subsidising firearms license applications.”
Click here to view the HMIC report.
Posted on Tuesday 15th September 2015