My Position On Shooting
Thank you for your letter regarding shooting. I am copying this reply to BASC, as their website states candidates have been contacted by them, but I have not yet had a letter, it maybe that it is still coming.
I am aware of the clear distinction between the lawful use of firearms for hunting or target sports and their use by criminals. I have used your infographic before to explain the importance of shooting to some police officers, so I am grateful you raised that!
Firstly, I have held a firearms shotgun licence, and I used to clay a lot.
As the current PCC for Dorset, I am aware that pro rata, Dorset has more firearms licence holders than any other area of England, per head of population. This is clearly an important arena for me.
As the current PCC, I am also aware of my responsibility to ensure firearms licences are issued in a safe yet efficient way.
It is fair to say this area has recently started to concern me, as I recently dealt with a shooter who had issues getting their licence renewed, in an acceptable time frame. I will gratefully accept the offer to meet BASC if I am re-elected, as firearms licensing is a fine balance between scarce resources due to the cuts, and ensuring public safety.
In relation to your questions, I can confirm that I do support shooting conducted according to the law, and that I am committed to ensuring an efficient licensing operation in Dorset, and I want to meet BASC to pursue this.
Finally (and controversially for some) I led a national campaign to raise the cost of the firearms licence, for your information.
I respect and support shooters, and their right to shoot, but I was aghast when I became Dorset PCC to find out that Dorset taxpayers were subsidising shooting to the tune of hundreds of thousands of pounds, so I am glad this has now been rectified. That extra cost equated to losing 10 police officers on the streets, and I felt that the licence fee needed revisiting after many many years of being fixed.
I hope this response has helped answer your questions.