The Police Service of Northern Ireland has today, Tuesday 1 December announced that the cost for the grant of a firearm certificate is set to increase. The fee for a five year certificate has remained at £50 since 2004 however, from 22 February 2016 this will rise to £98. It is important for the Police Service to keep the public and stakeholders informed of any changes in licensing fees. There are also changes to all the other existing fees.
Chief Superintendent Peter Farrar from the Service Improvement Department said: “It has been well documented over recent times the considerable financial constraints faced by our organisation. This increase in the licensing fee will reduce the current gap between the income received by the Police Service from firearm certificate applications and the cost of administering the licensing system.
“We wanted to take this opportunity at the earliest stage to inform our stakeholders and the general public about the implementation date for the increase in fees. The fee increase is in line with government guidance on managing public money which states that where a fee is charged for a service it should reflect the cost of providing that service. The fee for a firearm certificate has not increased in over ten years; however the cost of the licensing system has continued to rise over that time.
“We feel this increase will go some way towards cost recovery of administering a firearm certificate – which is not just about issuing a new certificate to firearm owners. In the interests of keeping people safe, robust checks are required on all those who seek to possess firearms and ammunition. This includes face to face interviews, checking the suitability of the land on which firearms will be used and that arrangements for secure storage are satisfactory. On occasion it is also necessary to request medical information from General Practitioners.
Chief Superintendent Peter Farrar concluded, “We will continue to work with the Department of Justice and those who represent the shooting community to ensure our revised procedures offer increased accountability and transparency. The vast majority of the 58,000 firearm certificate holders across Northern Ireland take their responsibilities very seriously and understand the need for an effective and efficient licensing system which protects the public and provides value for money. All certificate holders will be notified of the changes as their expiry date approaches”.
Further details of the procedures involved in applying for a certificate can be found athttp://www.psni.police.uk/index/advice-and-legislation/firearms.htm .