Firearm and shotgun certificate holders and applicants should pay a fair price for a fair service, according to the UK’s largest shooting organisation, the British Association for Shooting and Conservation (BASC).
The Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) has submitted a proposal to the Government to increase certificate fees from £50 to £94. The last revision of fees took place in 2001.
BASC recognises that some costs will have increased but believes there are still efficiency savings and service improvements which can be made by the police, some with no cost attached. BASC also recognises that Chief Constable Andy Marsh, the ACPO lead on firearms licensing is committing time, effort and resources to make improvements. However, the licensing system is currently patchy at best, with significant differences in delivery across different police forces and long delays in some areas.
Bill Harriman, BASC director of firearms said: “BASC’s specialist firearms team handles more than 500 calls every month from people who are trying to negotiate their way through the system. This puts us in a unique position to be able to assess how firearms licensing is operating across the UK. Service delivery is inconsistent. Some police forces produce long and unacceptable delays in the process. We are seeing improvements in some areas, but not in all. The police have official Home Office guidance which should be setting consistent standards, but our experience shows that in practice, this is far from the case. Certificate holders should pay a fair price for a fair service and BASC wishes to see that fair service put in place. Neither certificate holders nor the taxpayer should have to pay for inefficiency. BASC is talking to the police and to the Government and discussions are on-going.”