Commissioner calls for firearms licence review

A policeman
A policeman

WIGAN’S Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) is supporting calls to change the cost of gun licenses so that forces are not left out of pocket for running background checks.

Under current regulations, a five-year firearms or shotgun certificate costs £50 but for GMP to process the application, it can be around £200.

PCC Tony Lloyd said: “We have a regime in this country to protect the public while allowing legitimate and appropriate people to hold guns.

“People with guns are in a position of trust and the cost of the licence should reflect this position of trust.

“Greater Manchester Police should certainly not be out of pocket to carry out the checks required to ensure that only responsible people should have access to guns.

“The process should be self-financing so that police can focus their shrinking resources on where it matters most.

“It should not be subsidised by the taxpayer.”

Police Minister Damian Green has informed the commissioners across the country that the licence fee is under review but warned that a planned increase will mean that police forces can only recoup 50 per cent of the actual cost.

The £50 cost for a firearms licence has not risen for more than a decade, the commissioners have argued.

Mr Lloyd is also supporting proposals to substantially reform the firearms licensing process.

The Labour party is advocating an overhaul which would see the onus to demonstrate suitability to own a firearm shifting to those who are applying for a licence.

This would include a wholesale ban on individuals who have a history of domestic or sexual violence.

Other past offences that would result in a ban would include those who have a history of substance abuse or serious mental health issues.

New guidelines outlined earlier this year called for police forces to review firearms licence holders should they become involved in domestic violence.