FEWER shotgun licences were revoked in Hampshire last year despite a rise across the country, new figures have shown.

Home Office figures show 27 shotgun certificates were revoked by Hampshire Constabulary in the year to March – down from 44 the year before.

The figures also show nine firearm licences were revoked over the same period – down from 13 in 2022-23.

Nationally, 1,559 shotgun certificates were revoked across England and Wales – a 34 per cent increase on 2022-23, and the highest figure since comparable records began in 2008-09.

The data also shows 19,112 shotgun and 5,046 firearm certificates were active in Hampshire and the Isle of Wight as of the end of March, the equivalent of 2,565 and 1,086 per 100,000 people respectively.

The police can revoke any individual's firearms licence if they believe they cannot be trusted with it, are a danger to the public, or no longer have a good reason to hold it.

A spokesperson for Hampshire Constabulary said the force's Firearms Licensing team have a "robust processes" for managing and monitoring shotgun and firearms certificates.

"Certificates are only granted or renewed following a thorough review and providing strict conditions are met, including around their history and behaviour.

"The latest data released shows we have seen a reduction in the overall number of firearm and shotgun certificate holders in our force area.

"Compared to other countries, gun crime in the UK is low, with crimes committed using guns held on certificates being extremely rare.

"There are strict controls around the security of guns and ammunition, and we take swift action against any certificate holders who fail to maintain these standards, both through the justice system and our licensing compliance measures.

"We take this extremely seriously, and the vast majority of those with certificates understand and comply with these statutory requirements."

The figures come as the Gun Control Network called on the Government to "dramatically increase" licence fees so the police can conduct more thorough checks.

A spokesperson said there have been six shootings in Great Britain where three or more people have died in the last 14 years, five of which were committed by licensed gun owners.

They added: "Clearly our firearms licensing process is broken, and many bereaved and traumatised families are suffering the consequences.

"The licence fees need to increase dramatically so the police have more funding to conduct more thorough checks."

The British Association for Shooting and Conservation said the police are increasingly "depriving perfectly safe people of their certificates and leaving it to the court to make the final decision".