Leading policeman critical of national firearms register delayBack to Communities
Publisher: Ian Morgan
Published: 06/03/2006 - 09:10:30 AM Printable version
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Chief Constable Bernard Hogan-Howe
A leading police officer has joined in criticism of the Government's failure to introduce a national firearms register as promised following the Dunblane massacre.
The Chief Constable of Merseyside Police joined the parents of victims in speaking out against the delay.
He was speaking almost a decade after Thomas Hamilton gunned down 16 children and their teacher.
The Home Office admits it will be at least February 2007 before the database, which will contain information regarding anyone who has ever applied for a gun licence, is up and running in the UK.
Pilots highlighted "data quality issues" which have yet to be ironed out, much to the anger of campaigners such as Dr Mick North, father of five-year-old victim Sophie.
Chief Constable Bernard Hogan-Howe told the Jonathan Dimbleby programme today that there had been "great progress" in gun control but admitted that 10 years was "too long" for the register.
He said: "I understand that they've had two pilots and we're told that there are IT problems to actually resolving it, but I'm with Dr North in the sense that 10 years on, this is too long.
"We want it, there's certainly no resistance from the police service to have it and clearly what we do need is a register of all the people with a licence and we certainly need a register of those people who have applied for a licence and had it refused because the danger is they apply to one force, fail, and then re-apply to another."
The establishment of a searchable database of everyone who holds a firearms certificate, or who has ever applied for one, was one of the central demands of the campaign for greater gun control that followed the Dunblane massacre in 1996.
It was promised by Prime Minister Tony Blair to members of the Snowdrop Campaign, set up by victims' families to call for tighter gun controls.
Around £5.5 million has so far been spent on setting up the register, which will be piloted once again in May.
If successful the nine-month rollout programme will begin in June 2006. Once in place, it will hold 1.2 million records.
Dr Mick North told this morning's ITV1 programme he was disappointed the register was taking so long to come about.
He said: "It is its not something that I have spent a lot of time campaigning on because I think I always assumed it was going to happen.
"But as the years have moved on, so we get Government ministers standing up in parliament and saying well its going to be another year or two... and it is now nine years since parliament passed the Bill which was supposed to bring this firearms registry into force."
A Home Office spokesperson said: "We are very disappointed that the National Firearms Licensing Management System has taken so long to deliver.
"The Government remains fully committed to this project, which will allow the tracking of license holders and applicants as they move across police force areas.
"Work on the system had to be carried forward in a way that maintained continuity of the Police National Computer even as other significant IT projects were being delivered - for example linking the Police National Computer to the Violent and Sex Offenders Register and the DNA Database."
"Moreover, we have improved on the original requirement for a firearms register that would have sat outside individual police forces' own systems and involved double keying of information."
He went on: "It is disappointing when a pilot reveals a problem, as happened during testing phases of this project. However, this is the purpose of a pilot."
Copyright Press Association 2006
this gun control thing will bite them in the ass harder than they ever thought possible
Ah, you see, this is where Canada and the US are going to fail. Here, they want to START with registration. This is very difficult. Registering millions of guns is almost impossible. It's much better to simply BAN almost everything. THEN register what's left. Way easier. Besides, you can also count on some to try to register guns they didn't know were illegal. Bingo, high publicity gun prosecutions to help convince the public there really is a problem so the police can get more funding.
One thing that has always stumped me is in why people think that registering a firearms some how stops someone from commiting a crime. Sure it tell who the purchaser/owner of that particular weapon is, but does not tell you who actually pulled the trigger.
laugh it up...... soldering guns KILL people
That is the funniest shit I have ever seen!
Yup... Funny shit alright.
There isn't a gun club here that doesn't have a copy of that tacked somewhere on a bulliten board.
When it happened there was talk of charges being laid against the guy who pulled the stunt.
"Supplying False Info" or some BS to that effect..
The Feds backed off as I guess they realized all the info he supplied re the gun was accurate
It was quite an embarassment to the program....
How about a nailgun?
Sort of like that SOT manufacturer that registered a shoelace. I have a pic of it somewhere. Shoelace attached to a Mini-14 with a serial number on a little plate sewn into the shoelace.
I'd love to see the Form 1 on that!