BASC outlines key demands in licensing fees review

Two shooters with a gundog

BASC has said that it will not accept “rewarding failure” in the upcoming review of firearms licensing fees in England, Scotland and Wales.

The review has been launched by the Home Office and a Fees Working Group has been set up, which includes representatives from BASC and the British Shooting Sports Council. The working group’s first meeting will be in April.

The most recent review of fees prior to this point was in 2014.

Discussing the review, Bill Harriman, BASC director of firearms, said: “The evidence-led process was extremely effective in 2014. So long as the same principles are followed there is no reason that we should expect anything less in 2022.

“BASC is committed to participating in the Fees Working Group but warns government that the current crisis in firearms licensing will not be solved by increasing fees alone.

“As some licensing departments continue to deliver an effective service, it is clear that the current fee structure is not to blame for those licensing departments experiencing lengthy delays and growing backlogs.

“Rewarding failure is not an option, we need every licensing department to have their house in order before fees are increased.

BASC’s key requirements are as follows:

  • The group will follow the 2014 Fees Working Group model of evidence-based costings of the licensing process.
  • The group will identify and implement cost-saving efficiencies, delivered by the growing use of IT in the licensing process.
  • The purpose of the system is to protect public safety and as such the public purse should pay a proportion of any fee.
  • Ministers and the police have committed to a process that could deliver a 10-year certificate, providing cost savings and reducing the burden on the departments. The group needs to engage with this policy objective.
  • There are 43 licensing authorities in England and Wales offering widely divergent levels of service, different interpretations and no standard training. This promotes inconsistencies and compromises public safety. The group needs to address this urgently.

We will continue to keep members up to date with the Fees Working Group progress.