§ Lord Burton
asked Her Majesty's Government:
In how many police constabulary areas, with names, in England, Wales and Scotland there have been, or are, investigations into fraud in connection with the Firearms Act 1997 Compensation Scheme; how many police officers and civilians, of what grade, are or have been suspended, and on what dates, giving the relevant constabulary name in each case. [HL998]
§ Lord Williams of Mostyn
We are aware of current and past investigations into potential fraud in relation to 203WA firearms compensation claims in five police areas: Nottinghamshire; South Yorkshire; Devon and Cornwall; Essex; and the Metropolitan Police. In the South Yorkshire case, three police constables and one civilian employee have been suspended from duty pending the outcome of the investigation. The dates of suspension were 13 November 1997, 12 December 1997, 28 January 1998 and 18 February 1998. In the other cases, the investigations relate to the possibility of attempted deception by claimants, with no indication of police involvement. One is at the preliminary enquiry stage, and criminal charges have been laid in two cases.
However, the number of attempted deceptions must be seen in the context of over 40,000 compensation claims received by the Firearms Compensation Section. Officials will continue to examine the remaining claims closely, drawing possible discrepancies to the attention of the police for further investigation. This examination of claims is a detailed but essential task.