HC Deb 18 January 2000 vol 342 cc368-70W
Mr. William Ross

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many firearms certificates were revoked in each of the last five years and in the current year in each police force area; and of these how many were revoked on the grounds of no good reason to possess the firearms in question. [105818]

Mr. Charles Clarke

Firearms licensing statistics for England and Wales are published annually in Home Office statistical bulletins, copies of which are placed in the Library of the House. The most recent bulletin (Issue 22–99) relates to the year 1998 and was published on 26 November 1999.

Although the statistics give details of the number of revocations in each force, no information is collected centrally about the grounds for this action.

Mr. William Ross

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what progress has been made on the requirement for a national database under Section 39 of the Firearms (Amendment) Act 1997; and who is responsible for the implementation of that Section of the Act. [105817]

Mr. Charles Clarke

The Firearms (Amendment) Act 1997 does not specify the person or organisation which is to provide the central register referred to in section 39. It is being developed as part of the PHOENIX database of the Police National Computer, which is maintained by the Police Information Technology Organisation. As a next step a detailed impact assessment is to be carried out of the work which needs to be done to link the Police National Computer to existing firearms systems in forces. This is expected to be completed in April.

Mr. William Ross

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department for each police force in England and Wales, if he will list the systems used to hold the register of privately held firearms and persons holding firearms certificates, naming each electronic system concerned; and if he will place a copy of the functional specification and user guide of each such electronic system in the Library. [105824]

Mr. Charles Clarke

I understand that most forces use or have purchased either the ORBIS system or the SHOGUN system, as set out:

Forces using ORBIS

  • Bedfordshire
  • Cambridgeshire
  • Cheshire
  • Cleveland
  • Dyfed-Powys
  • Essex
  • Gwent
  • Hampshire
  • Kent
  • Lincolnshire
  • Metropolitan
  • North Wales
  • Northamptonshire
  • Northumbria
  • Nottinghamshire
  • South Wales
  • South Yorkshire
  • Staffordshire
  • Suffolk
  • Surrey
  • Sussex
  • Thames Valley
  • Warwickshire
  • West Midlands

Forces using SHOGUN

  • Avon and Somerset
  • Derbyshire
  • Devon and Cornwall
  • Durham
  • Gloucestershire
  • Greater Manchester
  • Hertfordshire
  • Lancashire
  • Leicestershire
  • Merseyside
  • North Yorkshire
  • West Yorkshire
  • Wiltshire

Forces using other systems

  • City of London
  • Cumbria
  • Dorset
  • Humberside
  • Norfolk
  • West Mercia.

The functional specifications and user guides are not held centrally.

Mr. William Ross

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many persons held(a) certificates relating to the holding of (i) firearms, (ii) shotguns and (iii) explosives and (b) dealer certificates at the latest date for which figures are available. [105821]

Mr. Charles Clarke

The most recent year for which firearm certificate statistics for England and Wales are available is 1998. At the end of that year, 131,900 firearm certificates and 627,000 shotgun certificates were on issue, and 2,180 persons were registered as firearms dealers.

The most recent figures for explosive certificates for England and Wales relate to 1997. At the end of that year, a total of 6,794 certificates relating to the acquisition and keeping of explosives, and a further 2,432 relating to their acquisition only, were in force.