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Firearms

Volume 175: debated on Wednesday 27 June 1990

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To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what information he has regarding the number of specialist civilian firearms officers employed by police forces to supervise the Firearms (Amendment) Act 1988; and what steps he is taking to promote their use.

No records are maintained of specialist civilian firearms officers employed to supervise the Firearms (Amendment) Act 1988 though returns made by provincial forces to Her Majesty's inspectorate of constabulary at the end of December 1989 indicated that 80 civilian staff were employed on firearms registration duties with a further 151 in support duties—part-time staff are counted on a two for one basis. The Metropolitan police have 24 such staff.Home Office guidance on the use of civilian staff suggests that they can be used on clerical and administrative duties involved with firearms and other functions where there is no need for police powers.

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what representations he has received regarding the implementation of the Firearms (Amendment) Act 1988 by different police forces; and what steps he is taking to promote a consistent approach across different forces.

My right hon. and learned Friend has received representations from a number of different sources including Members of both Houses of Parliament, the shooting organisations and individual members of the public about the implementation of the Firearms (Amendment) Act 1988. Administration of firearms controls is the responsibility of individual chief officers of police. To help ensure consistency of practice in and between police forces, the Home Department has issued advice on the administration of all aspects of firearms legislation, including the new controls, in the publication "Firearms Law: Guidance to the Police". Copies of the document, which is available to the public, have been placed in the Library. The advice in the guidance is subject to review both by the Home Department and the Firearms Consultative Committee.