Police say results from the first survey assessing trust and confidence with firearms licensing are to be expected, and provide baseline tracking on the ongoing improvements to the firearms regime which have already begun.
The baseline survey was provided to approximately 1,000 public and 1,700 recently renewed or approved firearms licence holders in March 2022.
This is the first survey of its kind and its results provide a measure to gauge current perceptions of firearms regulation. This indicates what areas need to be improved and, going forward, Police can effectively measure how it tracks against this baseline.
The firearms Baseline survey is in response to recommendation 22b of the Royal Commission of Inquiry into the terrorist attack on Christchurch masijdain. This recommendation asked Police to introduce performance measures on the firearms licensing system and to increase public confidence in this system over time. The survey will be repeated twice more (September 2023 and September 2024) to assess ongoing perceived confidence in firearms regulation.
Overall, Police acknowledges that the firearms licensing regime needs to improve and the funding increase of $208 million announced as part of Budget 2022 will enable significant transformation of the Firearms regulatory system resulting in safer lawful firearms use in Aotearoa.
The two cohorts in the survey have quite different perceptions of firearms oversight: Firearms licence holders, who are on the receiving end of compliance requirements and regulation, and the public, which has a wider view of how Police deals with firearms issues.
Nearly 70 percent of public surveyed had trust and confidence in the approach the Police use to manage firearms licensing in the community. Firearms licence holder trust and confidence was just under 43 percent.
Nearly 65 percent of public have trust and confidence in Police as effectively controlling the safe use and possession of licenced firearms in the community. The firearms licence holders trust and confidence was slightly over 45 percent.
Over 55 percent of public have trust and confidence that Police is effective in controlling the possession of unlicenced firearms in the community. There was less confidence from the firearms licence holders, at just over 30 percent.
Police has actively improved consultation and engagement with both the firearms and non-firearms communities, to ensure their voices are being heard and to support them in with any legislation and regulatory outcomes that may affect them.
The ongoing effect of modernising and implementing regulatory changes, along with improved information sharing with Police, aims to increase overall firearms safety and show improved regulatory effect with firearms over time.
This will be supported by the Budget 2022 funding of $208 million over four years, enabling the establishment of a new Firearms Branded Business Unit within police, delivery of the Firearms Registry and improvements to the firearms licensing system, resulting in safer lawful firearms use in Aotearoa.
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