§ Mr. McNamara
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what steps he has taken since October 1997 to establish a central register of persons who have(a) applied for a licence and (b) to whom a licence to carry a firearm has been granted; what consideration he has given to extending the register (i) to Northern Ireland and (ii) to Scotland; and what information will be retained on this register. 
§ Mr. Denham
The central register is being developed by the Police Information Technology Organisation as part of the PHOENIX database on the Police National Computer (PNC). Following receipt of an agreed user requirement, a detailed impact assessment was carried out of the work which needed to be done to link the PNC to existing firearms systems in forces. Work is planned for completion in November 2002.
Section 39 of the Firearms (Amendment) Act 1997 which requires the establishment of a register, does not apply to Northern Ireland, which has separate firearms controls.
Scottish forces already have a centralized database which is likely to meet the requirements of section 39, except that it is only accessible on-line to Scottish forces. Work is in hand to determine the detailed technical issues involved in making the necessary links with PNC.
The register will record full details of all persons whose applications for grant or renewal of a firearm or shot gun certificate have been accepted or refused; and also of those whose certificates have been revoked. It will also bring to notice the details of any certificate holder who is arrested/summonsed, together with details of any subsequent conviction or other disposal.