The UK’s largest shooting organisation is calling for police forces across the country to take a consistent and efficient approach to firearms licensing before any increase in fees is considered.
The British Association for Shooting and Conservation (BASC) is calling on police forces to put their houses in order. The police have asked the Government for a 400 per cent increase in firearms licensing fees which they say will cover costs.
BASC’s experience of working with its members shows that approaches by police firearms licensing departments are often inconsistent and inefficient.
BASC’s director of firearms Bill Harriman will discuss the issue with crime prevention minister James Brokenshire and representatives of other shooting organisations at a meeting on Tuesday.
Bill Harriman said: “We want a consistent approach. We want all police forces to follow Home Office guidelines which is not being done across the board. They have got to conform to this standard. They cannot ask for ‘full cost recovery’ on licence fees before they show that they are efficient, that costs are minimised and that a standardised approach to licensing is applied across the country.
"BASC is the only body in the country to collate the problems experienced with firearms licensing and its operation nationwide. Police inefficiency must not be rewarded by Government.
"We want a full and thorough examination of licensing procedures across every police force in the country to make sure they are firstly adhering to Home Office guidelines and secondly applying a consistent and practical approach to firearms licensing.
"Firearms licensing has to do two things. It has to protect public safety and the peace and allow the continued lawful use of firearms.
"Protecting public safety is a public good, therefore it is not unreasonable that part of the cost should be borne by the public purse.”