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Volume 986: debated on Wednesday 18 June 1980

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asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what criteria he uses when he assesses the effectiveness of existing controls on the possession and use of firearms.

In making a judgment about the effectiveness of firearms controls we must take account of the extent to which firearms are used in crime and the seriousness of the offences, and, in the light of these factors, the views of the police, of those who shoot, and of the public generally.

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what were the relevant costs that were taken into account in assessing the size of the proposed increase in fees charged under the Firearms Act 1968 ; and whether his Department or the police determined their relevance

The costs taken into account by the police are as set out in a Home Office letter of 10 June 1977 to chief constables, a copy of which is in the Library of the House. The system used to assess costs is, however, being reviewed. Therefore, although the results of a costing exercise undertaken in 1979 suggested an increase of the order of 100 per cent., the revised fees provided for in the Firearms (Variation of Fees) Order 1980 reflect only part of that increase. The appropriate level of fees will be reassessed when we have completed a review of the present system.