The Home Office today (Thursday 12 March) announced an increase in firearms licensing fees.
The fees have not been increased since 2001 and, according to police estimates, forces currently recoup only 27% of the cost of issuing a licence.
The increases, which will come into effect on 6 April 2015, are:
- The cost of a firearms certificate will rise from £50 to £88;
- The cost of a shotgun certificate will rise from £50 to £79.50;
- Renewal of a firearms certificate will cost £62 - it is currently £40;
- Renewal of a shotgun certificate will cost £49 - it is currently £40.
These changes will allow police forces to cover the full cost of running the firearms licensing service once eCommerce, an online system currently being developed by the police, becomes operational in due course.
Minister for Crime Prevention Lynne Featherstone said:
The UK has some of the toughest gun laws in the world and the changes we are making to fees are a huge step forward in improving the firearms licensing system as a whole.
The increase in fees and the introduction of online licensing will end what is currently an unsustainable process for the police and will create a fairer and more effective system for forces, licence holders and the general public.
The Government will work with police to introduce an online licensing system which will be reviewed in twelve months to assess whether costs are being fully recovered, with a view to increasing fees further if they are not.
The Government keeps firearms licensing constantly under review, both in the interests of public safety and in order to improve its effectiveness. Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary is also currently conducting an inspection into how the licensing system works in practice.
Today’s announcement follows a consultation process; the full Government response can be found here.