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FOI 2756 Firearms Certificate Holders With Criminal Records

I write in connection with your request for information which was received on 11 November 2010.  Please find below the response to your request:


Please provide the following details about the criminal records of firearms certificate-holders within the force area.

2. How many of these certificate-holders had criminal records at November 1, 2010?

3. How many of these certificate-holders at November 1, 2010, had a criminal record which included one or more suspended prison terms?

4. How many of these certificate-holders at November 1, 2010, had been given a suspended prison term since November 1, 2005?


Please be advised that the information that you have requested is not available in a readily retrievable format. To explain further, the firearms system does not have a facility to automatically check previous convictions, therefore a separate Police National Computer check would need to be carried out for each licence holder to extract the conviction data. Of the 34,000 plus certificates an estimated 2,500 nominal's hold both firearm and shotgun certificates. This would leave 31,500 nominal searches to be conducted to obtain the information requested. It is estimated that each search would take a minimum of 15 minutes and that this would equate to in excess of an additional 7, 800 hours of work.

Therefore the cost of providing you with the information is above the amount to which we are legally required to respond i.e. the cost of locating and retrieving the information exceeds the ‘appropriate level' as stated in the Freedom of Information (Fees and Appropriate Limit) Regulations 2004.

In accordance with the Freedom of Information Act 2000, this letter acts as a Refusal Notice for this request

In accordance with Section 16 of the Act I have a duty to provide advice and assistance in relation to your request, however due to the volume of records that need to be reviewed I have been unable to identify information that could be supplied within the fees limit.

I should also point out that if one part of your request exceeds the fees limit then all of it does so. However I am in possession of some data and as a gesture of goodwill I have decided to release that to you in respect of question 1 and 5


1. How many firearms certificate-holders were registered with the force at November 1, 2010?

  • Firearm Certificates 6,210
  • Shotgun Certificates 28,003

5. Between November 1, 2008 and November 1, 2010, how many people had their firearms certificates revoked because of.

a. Their commission of criminal offences?


It is not possible to retrieve this information as requested, however during the period specified there were 151 certificates revoked as the holder was considered to be a danger to public safety. This could include criminal convictions, domestic incidents with or without violence or neighbour disputes. 


b. Concerns that they had "intemperate habits" or were of unsound mind?


As above and there were during the period specified 55 certificates revoked because of concerns over mental health such as developing depression, stress or other causes of mental instability.

c. Other reasons (please specify)?


As above and there were during the period specified 10 certificates revoked due to other reasons mainly these were for no longer having a good reason to retain a certificate.

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