Crime Commissioner hits out at PM over gun licences

Crime Commissioner hits out at PM over gun licences

Crime Commissioner hits out at PM over gun licences

First published in News

DORSET’S Police and Crime Commissioner has criticised the Prime Minister for refusing a rise in the cost of gun licences.

Martyn Underhill claims that Dorset Police has to subsidise gun holders by £250,000 a year- “effectively removing 10 police officers from our streets to fund a leisure time hobby”.

He said: “I have written to the Prime Minister to express my disbelief at his decision to reverse an agreed rise to the licence fee charged to those owning a shotgun or firearm.

“The negotiations to raise the licence fee took over two years and was agreed between all relevant stakeholders. These stakeholders included the industry itself, the Treasury, Home Office, the Regulatory Policy Committee and Government Ministers.

“David Cameron needs to justify his stand-alone decision and reassure the cynics amongst us that this isn’t about his personal hobby, the party faithful and extreme lobbying. Instead he needs to explain that his intervention has sound and transparent reasoning.

“I say this because, in these times of austerity, the tax payer should not be expected to subsidise administration costs for individuals who own firearms. This amounts to approximately £20 million a year nationally.

“The financial imbalance is just wrong, particularly during times when we have to make difficult decisions on the future of policing.

“The time for change, the time for a raise, is long overdue.”

Mr Underhill claims that just £50 allows someone to apply for a five year gun licence and only £40 for a subsequent five year renewal.

To put this into perspective, the government also sets a licence fee of £72 per year to fish for salmon or sea trout, equating to £360 for a five year period. The gun licence charges have not seen a rise since 2001.

He added: “In Dorset we have one of the largest shooting populations in the country, pro rata, with over 14,000 licence holders across the county. Dorset Police subsidises the licence administration by around £250,000 per year.”

Dorset Police have estimated the cost of granting a firearms licence to be £218. The £50 charge doesn’t cover the administration costs, let alone pay for an officer to visit the applicant to check their suitability to have a gun.

Mr Underhill added: “This leaves a gap of £168 which has to come from the tax payer – effectively removing 10 police officers from our streets to fund a leisure time hobby. I know many Dorset residents will find this a bitter pill to swallow.

“The licencing of firearms is something taken very seriously and is the main reason why the cost of issuing them is so high”

Local and national background checks must be completed on the applicant together with a face-to-face visit to ensure they are suitable. The training to enable these assessments to be made takes at least two years to understand the legislation and to make the right decision. After all, there’s nothing more risky than deciding if a member of the public can have a gun.

“As Police and Crime Commissioner for Dorset, I urge Mr Cameron to review his decision and if he won’t do so, to at least explain why he has intervened.

“This isn’t about income generation, or making money. It’s about cost recovery, enabling rural police forces like Dorset in continuing to deliver efficient and effective policing services without forcing them to use public funds to support the leisure activities of a few.”

Comments (11)

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12:41pm Thu 21 Aug 14

JamesYoung says...

So it costs less to buy a gun licence than it does a passport?
Given the level of vetting involved something is wrong.
We need to reduce the number of guns in circulation so increasing the cost would be a good way of doing so.
After all, some of these people are paying more to tax their Land Rover.
I'm struggling to understand how politicians are focusing on anything but the economy at the moment.
So it costs less to buy a gun licence than it does a passport? Given the level of vetting involved something is wrong. We need to reduce the number of guns in circulation so increasing the cost would be a good way of doing so. After all, some of these people are paying more to tax their Land Rover. I'm struggling to understand how politicians are focusing on anything but the economy at the moment. JamesYoung
  • Score: 0

2:17pm Thu 21 Aug 14

GaryC67 says...

Could we have a breakdown of the £218 the Police estimate the cost of granting a firearms licence is. I'm always intrigued as to how they work out the amount.
Just because other licences are more expensive doesn't mean that either are fair value for money.
Could we have a breakdown of the £218 the Police estimate the cost of granting a firearms licence is. I'm always intrigued as to how they work out the amount. Just because other licences are more expensive doesn't mean that either are fair value for money. GaryC67
  • Score: 1

4:26pm Thu 21 Aug 14

portland.bill says...

why does he want a increase ? so he and his quango has more to waste ,
why does he want a increase ? so he and his quango has more to waste , portland.bill
  • Score: -3

4:49pm Thu 21 Aug 14

La Vigneron says...

What, exactly, does a 'Crime Commissioner' do? Are there not already enough ' jobs for the boys' wasting taxpayers money.
In the old days a chief constable and his deputy, aided by the chief of detectives handled all the bureaucracy, More constables on the beat could well be funded by removal of deputy........... assistant .......... deputy assistant....... and all their secretaries, vastly expensive, and largely useless, computer suits and office space.
If I wanted to 'commission' a crime, would I have to contact Mr Underhill?
What, exactly, does a 'Crime Commissioner' do? Are there not already enough ' jobs for the boys' wasting taxpayers money. In the old days a chief constable and his deputy, aided by the chief of detectives handled all the bureaucracy, More constables on the beat could well be funded by removal of deputy........... assistant .......... deputy assistant....... and all their secretaries, vastly expensive, and largely useless, computer suits and office space. If I wanted to 'commission' a crime, would I have to contact Mr Underhill? La Vigneron
  • Score: 2

4:55pm Thu 21 Aug 14

La Vigneron says...

What, exactly, does a 'Crime Commissioner' do?
Yet another waste of taxpayers money playing at a job that other have been doing for years. No doubt his salary would go a long way to reducing the strain on the taxpayer about he is so worried!
If I wanted to 'Commission' a crime, do I apply to Mr Underhill to arrange it?
What, exactly, does a 'Crime Commissioner' do? Yet another waste of taxpayers money playing at a job that other have been doing for years. No doubt his salary would go a long way to reducing the strain on the taxpayer about he is so worried! If I wanted to 'Commission' a crime, do I apply to Mr Underhill to arrange it? La Vigneron
  • Score: 1

9:27pm Thu 21 Aug 14

Altview says...

The easy solution for this, which would save Dorset Police £305200 by their estimates, is to refuse to issue any gun licenses. The force, as I understand it, is not obliged to issue any licenses and in times of austerity this is a reasonable cutback to make.
The easy solution for this, which would save Dorset Police £305200 by their estimates, is to refuse to issue any gun licenses. The force, as I understand it, is not obliged to issue any licenses and in times of austerity this is a reasonable cutback to make. Altview
  • Score: 0

11:46pm Thu 21 Aug 14

La Vigneron says...

Altview wrote:
The easy solution for this, which would save Dorset Police £305200 by their estimates, is to refuse to issue any gun licenses. The force, as I understand it, is not obliged to issue any licenses and in times of austerity this is a reasonable cutback to make.
The police, much as they would like to, do not make the law. They can, and do, place all sorts of obstacles in the way of applications for gun licenses but, so long as the applicant fulfills all legal requirements, they can not refuse.
I am a-political but, as a student of history, it is interesting to read, in the Communist manifesto, that one of the first aims of a would be dictatorship is to disarm the populace.
[quote][p][bold]Altview[/bold] wrote: The easy solution for this, which would save Dorset Police £305200 by their estimates, is to refuse to issue any gun licenses. The force, as I understand it, is not obliged to issue any licenses and in times of austerity this is a reasonable cutback to make.[/p][/quote]The police, much as they would like to, do not make the law. They can, and do, place all sorts of obstacles in the way of applications for gun licenses but, so long as the applicant fulfills all legal requirements, they can not refuse. I am a-political but, as a student of history, it is interesting to read, in the Communist manifesto, that one of the first aims of a would be dictatorship is to disarm the populace. La Vigneron
  • Score: 0

8:13am Fri 22 Aug 14

arlbergbahn says...

Mr. Commissioner doesn't seem to have grasped that those who use guns for nefarious purposes probably wouldn't have a license for them in the first place.

JamesYoung says: "We need to reduce the number of guns in circulation so increasing the cost would be a good way of doing so."

So it's the Barbour-wearing community with labradors and Land Rovers that are responsible for Dorset's wave of gun crime? Is there a noticeable problem with gun crime in Dorset? Could Mr. Commissioner merely be trying to rake in more money for himself and his no doubt spectacularly inefficient organisation, as all bureaucracies invariably are?
Mr. Commissioner doesn't seem to have grasped that those who use guns for nefarious purposes probably wouldn't have a license for them in the first place. JamesYoung says: "We need to reduce the number of guns in circulation so increasing the cost would be a good way of doing so." So it's the Barbour-wearing community with labradors and Land Rovers that are responsible for Dorset's wave of gun crime? Is there a noticeable problem with gun crime in Dorset? Could Mr. Commissioner merely be trying to rake in more money for himself and his no doubt spectacularly inefficient organisation, as all bureaucracies invariably are? arlbergbahn
  • Score: -1

10:18am Fri 22 Aug 14

elloello1980 says...

Some really stupid comments sitting above me.

If taxpayers are even subsidising a penny to gun licence holders, then it needs an increase in fee!

This is the type of story people criticise the Echo for not reporting, investigative stuff that affects us all.

But of course, many people will moan about a well paid professional who was voted in to position
Some really stupid comments sitting above me. If taxpayers are even subsidising a penny to gun licence holders, then it needs an increase in fee! This is the type of story people criticise the Echo for not reporting, investigative stuff that affects us all. But of course, many people will moan about a well paid professional who was voted in to position elloello1980
  • Score: 3

11:38am Fri 22 Aug 14

arlbergbahn says...

elloello1980 wrote:
Some really stupid comments sitting above me.

If taxpayers are even subsidising a penny to gun licence holders, then it needs an increase in fee!

This is the type of story people criticise the Echo for not reporting, investigative stuff that affects us all.

But of course, many people will moan about a well paid professional who was voted in to position
You don't object to taxpayers subsidising this useless but (he likes to think) prestigious post, then?
[quote][p][bold]elloello1980[/bold] wrote: Some really stupid comments sitting above me. If taxpayers are even subsidising a penny to gun licence holders, then it needs an increase in fee! This is the type of story people criticise the Echo for not reporting, investigative stuff that affects us all. But of course, many people will moan about a well paid professional who was voted in to position[/p][/quote]You don't object to taxpayers subsidising this useless but (he likes to think) prestigious post, then? arlbergbahn
  • Score: -1

12:14pm Fri 22 Aug 14

elloello1980 says...

arlbergbahn wrote:
elloello1980 wrote:
Some really stupid comments sitting above me.

If taxpayers are even subsidising a penny to gun licence holders, then it needs an increase in fee!

This is the type of story people criticise the Echo for not reporting, investigative stuff that affects us all.

But of course, many people will moan about a well paid professional who was voted in to position
You don't object to taxpayers subsidising this useless but (he likes to think) prestigious post, then?
Maybe you should question the people that decided the country needed IPCCs, rather than a man that was voted in to this well paid job.

Fight the system, not the man!
[quote][p][bold]arlbergbahn[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]elloello1980[/bold] wrote: Some really stupid comments sitting above me. If taxpayers are even subsidising a penny to gun licence holders, then it needs an increase in fee! This is the type of story people criticise the Echo for not reporting, investigative stuff that affects us all. But of course, many people will moan about a well paid professional who was voted in to position[/p][/quote]You don't object to taxpayers subsidising this useless but (he likes to think) prestigious post, then?[/p][/quote]Maybe you should question the people that decided the country needed IPCCs, rather than a man that was voted in to this well paid job. Fight the system, not the man! elloello1980
  • Score: 1
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