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Statistical Bulletin: Criminal Justice Series CrJ/2005/5: FIREARM CERTIFICATES STATISTICS, SCOTLAND, 2004

DescriptionStatistics on the issue of firearms and shotgun certificates, by police force
ISBN07559 2546 7
Official Print Publication Date
Website Publication DateMay 19, 2005

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Published May 2005

A Scottish Executive National Statistics Publication

ISBN 0 7559 2546 7

This document is also available in pdf format (332k)

CONTENTS

1. Introduction
2. Main Points
3. Commentary :
Firearm Certificates
Shot Gun Certificates
Firearm Dealers
Visitor's Permits
European Firearm Passes
4. Appendix of tables
5. Annex : Notes on statistics used in this bulletin
Scottish Executive Statistical Services
Correspondence and enquiries

1. Introduction

This bulletin presents information for the years 1995 to 2004 on the issue of firearm and shot gun certificates under the Firearms Act 1968 (as amended). Statistics on the number of crimes and offences involving the alleged use of a firearm in 2003 were published in The Scottish Executive statistical bulletin, "Recorded Crimes and Offences Involving Firearms, Scotland, 2003" in October 2004. The corresponding figures for 2004 will be published in a bulletin later in the year.

Changes in regulation regarding the length of time a firearm or shot gun certificate was valid for changed with effect from 1 January 1995, increasing the period of certification from three to five years. As this includes both applications for new certificates and renewals of existing certificates this effectively meant that no certificates required renewal in either 1998 or 1999. This had the knock-on effect that primarily only those certificates which were newly applied for in 1999 required renewal in 2004. This has meant that the number of renewals of firearm and shot gun certificates are very low for 2004, as is the number of cancellations. Further information is given in the Notes in the Annex.

Chart 1 Firearm and shot gun certificates on issue at 31 December, Scotland, 1995-2004

Chart 1 Firearm and shot gun certificates on issue at 31 December, Scotland, 1995-2004

2. Main Points
  • There were 26,897 firearm certificates on issue at the end of 2004, an increase of 1 per cent (292) on the previous year, continuing the slight increase recorded in 2003 after several years of declining numbers.
  • In 2004, there were 1,098 applications for new firearms certificate, an increase of 6 per cent when compared with 2003. Although the number of cancellations rose by 18 per cent in the year, there were more new applications granted than cancellations.
  • In 2004, 766 firearm certificates were renewed, an increase of 4 per cent compared with 2003 ( see Introduction, and Annex Note 2 and Note 11), and 3 applications for renewal were refused .
  • Over a quarter of all firearms certificates on issue were in the Northern police force area, while Grampian and Strathclyde jointly accounted for around a further third of the total.
  • The 26,897 firearm certificates on issue at December 31 2004 covered the possession of 63,115 firearms. This represents a 4 per cent increase on the number of firearms in 2003, and the average number of firearms possessed on each certificate remained at 2.3.
  • There were 52,409 shot gun certificates on issue at the end of 2004, a marginal decrease of 12 certificates on the previous year.
  • The number of applications for a new shot gun certificate was 1,400 in 2004, 256 (15 per cent) less than the number recorded in 2003. There were 1,369 successful applications in 2004, just under the number of cancellations.
  • There were 1,426 renewed shot gun certificates in 2004, an increase of 17 per cent compared with 1,221 renewals in 2003 ( see Introduction, and Annex Note 2 and Note 11), with 2 applications for renewal being refused.
  • Strathclyde, Grampian and Northern police force areas jointly accounted for more than half of all shot gun certificates on issue at the end of 2004.
  • The number of firearm and shot gun certificates on issue per head of population was highest in the Northern police force area and lowest in Strathclyde.
  • The 52,409 shot gun certificates on issue covered the possession of 129,218 shot guns, an increase of 3 per cent compared to 2003. The average number of shot guns possessed on each certificate rose slightly from 2.4 to 2.5.
3. Commentary

3.1Firearm Certificates

  • There were 26,897 firearm certificates on issue at the end of 2004, an increase of 1 per cent (292) on the previous year, continuing the slight increase recorded in 2003 after several years of declining numbers.
  • In 2004, there were 1,098 applications for new firearms certificate, an increase of 6 per cent compared with 2003. Over the ten-year period 1995-2004 the annual number of applications for new firearms certificates has decreased by 42 per cent, from 1,898 in 1995. Although the number of cancellations rose by 18 per cent between 2003 and 2004, there were nevertheless more successful applications than cancellations in the year, thus increasing the number of certificates on issue at the end of the year.
  • The number of applications granted was 1,086. Twelve applications (1 per cent) were refused.
  • In 2004, 766 firearm certificates were renewed, an increase of 4 per cent compared with 737 renewals in 2003 ( see Introduction, and Annex Note 2 and Note 11), and 3 applications for renewal were refused .
  • There were 772 cancellations of firearm certificates, an increase of 18 per cent compared with 657 cancellations in 2003 ( see Introduction and Annex Note 11). In addition, the police revoked 37 firearm certificates.

Chart 2 New granted applications, cancellations and revocations, and total on issue of firearm certificates, Scotland, 1995-2004

Chart 2 New granted applications, cancellations and revocations, and total on issue of firearm certificates, Scotland, 1995-2004

  • Over a quarter (7,334) of all firearms certificates on issue were in the Northern police force area, while Grampian and Strathclyde jointly accounted for around a further third of the total.
  • The number of firearm certificates on issue per head of population was highest in the Northern police force area (2,654 per 100,000 population) and lowest in Strathclyde (177 per 100,000 population).
  • The 26,897 firearm certificates on issue at December 31 2004 covered the possession of 63,115 firearms (a 4 per cent increase compared to 2003). In addition, the certificates on issue authorised a further 8,263 firearms to be purchased or acquired ( see Annex Note 10). The average number of firearms possessed for each certificate remained at 2.3 in 2004.
  • Eighty-six per cent of certified firearms where the type of weapon was known were rifles, possessed or authorised to be purchased.
  • Because of the new requirement to licence Self Contained Gas Cartridge ( SCGC) airweapons ( see Annex Note 5), the number of airweapons possessed on certificate grew significantly compared to 2003. For air rifles the total possessed or authorised to be purchased grew from 253 to 354 (an increase of 40 per cent), while the total of air handguns grew from 29 to 306 (a tenfold increase).

3.2 Shot Gun Certificates

  • There were 52,409 shot gun certificates on issue at the end of 2004, a marginal decrease of 12 certificates on the previous year.
  • The number of applications for a new shot gun certificate was 1,400 in 2004, 256 (15 per cent) less than the number recorded in 2003. There were fewer successful applications in 2004 than the number of cancellations.
  • Permission was granted for 1,369 new shot gun certificates, a decrease of 15 per cent (249) from the 1,618 granted in 2003. Thirty one applications (2 per cent) were refused.

Chart 3 New granted applications, cancellations and revocations, and total on issue of shot gun certificates, Scotland, 1995-2004

Chart 3 New granted applications, cancellations and revocations, and total on issue of shot gun certificates, Scotland, 1995-2004

  • There were 1,426 renewed shot gun certificates in 2004, an increase of 17 per cent compared with 1,221 renewals in 2003 ( see Introduction, and Annex Note 2 and Note 11), with 2 applications for renewal being refused
  • In 2004, 1,378 shotgun certificates were cancelled, an increase of 36 per cent compared with 1,016 cancellations in 2003 ( see Introduction and Annex Note 11), while 83 were revoked, an increase of 6 per cent on the 78 certificates revoked in 2003.
  • Strathclyde (9,968), Grampian (9,486) and Northern (9,208) police force areas jointly accounted for more than half of all shot gun certificates on issue at the end of 2004.
  • The number of shot gun certificates on issue per head of population was highest in Northern police force area (3,332 per 100,000 population) and lowest in Strathclyde (452 per 100,000 population).
  • The 52,409 shot gun certificates on issue covered the possession of 129,218 shot guns, an increase of 3 per cent compared to 2003. The average number of shot guns possessed for each certificate rose slightly from 2.4 in 2003 to 2.5 in 2004.

Chart 4 Firearm and shot gun certificates on issue at 31 December 2004 per 100,000 population

Chart 4 Firearm and shot gun certificates on issue at 31 December 2004 per 100,000 population

3.3 Firearm Dealers

  • There were 280 registered firearm dealers in Scotland in 2004.
  • In 2004, 152 dealers had their request for renewal of their registration granted, with 18 new dealer registrations granted. There was one refusal for new registration amongst dealers, while 24 registrations were cancelled.

3.4 Visitors' Permits

  • The number of applications for Visitors' Permits from both EC and non- EC residents in 2004 totalled 2,698 for firearms (up from 2,585 in 2003) and 5,563 for shot guns (up from 5,111 in 2003).

3.5 European Firearm Passes

  • The number of European Firearm Passes on issue at the end of 2004 was 836, compared to 709 in 2003.
4. Appendix of tables

Firearm certificates
Table 1 Firearm certificates : New applications (granted and refused) and certificates on issue at 31 December, 1995-2004
Table 2 Firearm certificates : Applications for new and renewals (granted and refused); variations, cancellations, revocations and certificates on issue at 31 December 2004, by police force area
Table 2A Firearm certificates : Number of cancellations, revocations and certificates and percentage on issue at 31 December, 1995-2004
Table 3 Firearm certificates : Number of firearms possessed on certificate and firearms authorised to be purchased or acquired on certificate in force at the end of the year by type of weapon, 2004
Shot gun certificates
Table 4 Shot gun certificates : New applications (granted and refused) and certificates on issue at 31 December, 1995-2004
Table 5 Shot gun certificates : Applications for new and renewals (granted and refused); cancellations, revocations and certificates on issue at 31 December 2004, by police force area
Table 5A Shot gun certificates : Number of cancellations, revocations and certificates on issue at 31 December, 1995-2004
Firearm dealers
Table 6 Firearms dealers : New applications for registration (of which granted and refused) and dealers registered at 31 December, 1995-2004
Table 7 Firearms dealers : New and renewal applications for registration from dealers (granted and refused); dealers registered at 31 December 2004, by police force area
Visitors' Permits
Table 8 Visitors' Permits : Number of applications from EC and non- EC residents by police force area, 2004
European Firearm Passes
Table 9 European Firearm Passes : Applications for new and renewals; variations, cancellations and passes on issue at 31 December 2004, by police force area
Article 7
Table 10 Number of applications (granted) by certificate and non-certificate holders and for possession outside UK, 1995-2004