Despite firearm certificate fees being raised to £88 for a grant earlier this year – an increase of 76% – Chief Constable Andy Marsh, Britain’s top firearms licensing cop, says he still wants firearms licensing fees increased.
In an exclusive interview with the Shooting Times, published on the Shooting UK website, Marsh said: “At the moment the cost of the fees in no way covers the practical cost of licensing. I don’t believe anyone disputes that.”
Firearms fees were increased to £88 before May’s General Election, which saw a Conservative majority government returned. Police lobbyists, led by Marsh, engaged in a very public media campaign to have the fee for the grant of a firearm certificate quadrupled to £200 from its original level of £50. The Home Office told Marsh and the police to show their working, which resulted in the lower, full-cost level, being adopted.
It is clear that Marsh has not learned from having his knuckles rapped by the Home Office and then-policing minister Damian Green MP. Shooters must be prepared for a fresh police assault on their wallets when the Firearms Fees Working Group meets early next year to determine the first annual fee increase.
Other topics covered in the interview included 10 year certificates (“an idea that I support in principle”), round-the-clock police surveillance of FAC and SGC holders (“not completely watertight”), GPs handing your confidential medical data to the police on demand (“the medical profession should have an ongoing dialogue with licensing departments”) and the appalling state of many police firearms licensing departments as noted by HMIC (“many other countries would envy [our system of firearms control]”), as well as what Marsh sees as his legacy in firearms licensing.