Taxpayers have shelled out £5million to subsidise gun ownership across the Thames Valley, it has emerged.
Across the region there are 34,553 people who hold gun licences, which cost £50 each.
But The Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) estimate that the cost of issuing and checking a licence is £196 - meaning that each licence is subsidised to the tune of £146 by taxpayers funding Thames Valley Police.
Spread across the 34,553 licences that means their gun ownership has cost taxpayers more than £5million.
Andrew Pakes, Labour’s prospective parliamentary candidate for Milton Keynes, said: “It is wrong that taxpayers are being asked to subsidise the costs of gun owners, even more so when money is so tight. The scale of the government’s cuts on Thames Valley Police means that the police face some tough decisions, with police stations and frontline officers likely to go.
“We should be doing all we can to help the police manage their budget. That is why closing the loophole on gun licenses is so important.
“I know that the Association of Chief Police Officers has also called for costs to be passed on to gun owners. As Labour has said, the money saved should go into protecting police officers jobs. We need more police money spent on helping the public not wasteful gimmicks like the governments police and crime commissioners or subsiding the costs of gun owners. The saving really could help the police without spending any more public money.”
Thames Valley Police is currently planning £45million-worth of savings as part of budget cut-backs, with 147 officer posts set to go.
The grant or firearm or shotgun certificate is £50 with Thames Valley Police. Renewals cost £40, and variations £26. The 34,553 cover 88,935 licensed weapons.
Thames Valley Police ran a two-week gun amnesty for unlicensed firearms earlier this month, which ended with 22 being surrendered across the city.