report

Firearm Controls

Audit focus and scope

Audit focus and scope

The audit objective was to determine how effectively the Western Australia Police Force (Police) controls and regulates firearms.

The specific lines of inquiry were:

1. Does Police adequately manage the licensing of firearm owners, dealers, and repairers?

2. Are monitoring programs effective at detecting non-compliance?

3. Does the Firearm Licensing and Registry (L&R) Information System support effective regulation?

We focused on Police as the key entity responsible for regulating firearms under the Firearms Act 1973 (the Act) and the Firearms Regulations 1974 (Regulations).

We considered information and data from January 2015 to April 2018.

During the audit we:

  • reviewed relevant policies and procedures
  • interviewed Police staff and ‘walked through’ Police processes and databases
  • reviewed a sample of licence application assessments and inspections to assess compliance with legislation, policies, and procedures
  • sample tested records in L&R, such as licence application information and inspection records
  • analysed data from over 15,000 licence applications
  • assessed over 700 licensing records for deceased estates and over 400 expired licences
  • assessed security of the L&R system including database and application level monitoring
  • reviewed nearly 200 public comments and submissions received via our website between March and July 2018.

The audit assessed how Police managed licence applications (initial and renewal) and compliance activities for original owners, additions to existing licences, dealers, and repairers. Licence applications and compliance activities related to collector, manufacturer, corporate, and shooting gallery licences were not included in the audit.

This was a narrow scope performance audit, conducted under section 18 of the Auditor General Act 2006 and in accordance with Australian Standard on Assurance Engagements ASAE 3500 Performance Engagements. We complied with the independence and other relevant ethical requirements related to assurance engagements. Performance audits primarily focus on the effective management of public sector programs and activities. The approximate cost of undertaking the audit and reporting was $415,000.

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