Top of page.

Hounslow Borough Liberal Democrats

We store cookies on your device to make sure we give you the best experience on this website. I'm fine with this - Turn cookies off

Millions of public money is being spent subsidising gun owners in London – Caroline Pidgeon

July 21, 2014 10:29 AM
Pause. Skip to: next / previous. Set speed in seconds: 5 / 10 / 30 / 60 / 120. Image: 1/0.

New figures obtained by Caroline Pidgeon AM, Leader of the Liberal Democrat London Assembly Group, have revealed the Metropolitan Police Service are subsidising gun owners by millions of pounds each year.

Last year over £3 million was spent by the Met in issuing gun licences, and since 2008 the total cost to the Met has been in excess of £20 million. Yet with the annual cost for a gun licence being just £10 (£50 for a five year licence) the amount raised by the licence fees is now just a quarter of the real bill facing the Met in carrying out vital checks before issuing gun licences.

The central reason for the huge subsidy for gun owners is that the fees for obtaining a gun licence have remained frozen since 2001.

Commenting on the unrealistically low fees Caroline Pidgeon said:

"Something is seriously wrong when it costs more to obtain a licence to fish for salmon and sea trout than to own a gun."

"When there are so many pressures on police resources it is indefensible that the Met should be subsidising gun owners by millions of pounds every year.

"The full cost of carrying out vital checks before the issuing of gun licences should be paid for entirely by gun owners themselves.

"I hope the Mayor will now join me in persuading the Prime Minster to make this much needed change."


1. Gun licence fees are set nationally. Details of the current fees, which have remained unchanged since 2001 can be seen here: Details of annual fish licensing fees can be seen at:

2. The Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) estimate that the real cost of processing a gun application is about £200.

3. Details of the number of firearms licenced by the Metropolitan Police Service and other police forces:

4. The Chief Constable of Hampshire police was recently reported in the Guardian newspaper arguing for an increase in gun licence fees, stating: "There is a likelihood of a significant backlog in grant and renewal without an increase in the costs of a licence. Without the staffing levels to constantly reassess risk, it could lead to an increased threat of harm. It's becoming increasingly difficult to protect the level of staffing given to the oversight and scrutiny of the licensing process. But the reality remains that fees haven't gone up since 2001. Meanwhile, we have seen other fees such as drivers' licences and passports rise on a full cost recovery, which I think is the right thing to do."

5. Details of Caroline Pidgeon's Mayoral Question: