Police boss calls for changes to gun laws due to cost shortfall

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POLICE supremo Barry Coppinger is calling on the Government to let police commissioners set their own firearms license fees.

The Cleveland Police and Crime Commissioner have written to the Home Secretary to appeal for action as part of an ongoing review of the issue.

Mr Coppinger expressed his concerns that the current fee of £50 for gun holders does not cover the force’s administration costs.

Cleveland Police subsidise the Firearms Licensing Unit this year to the tune of £96,000. Last year the cost to the force was £87,079.

Mr Coppinger said: “I feel the national review offers an opportunity for the Home Office to resolve a number of anomalies that have been identified in the licensing and renewal processes.

“As an example, if an application for a grant of renewal is refused, the application fee originally paid is returned to the applicant with the force not being reimbursed for the time and resources used to process the application to the stage of refusal.

“A second example is the cost of doctors’ fees being met by the police and not the applicant.”

The 1968 Firearms Act states that fees should be set at a level which will cover the cost of administering the certification and registration procedures for every licence issued.

But the issue of fees has not been reviewed since the year 2000.

Changes are being made nationally to the way in which individuals can apply for licenses, with the aim of them being implemented by all UK forces by 2015.