We are currently experiencing network problems with the desktop version of Police Oracle. We hope to have these resolved as soon as possible.

Sweeping knife and gun laws to target violent offenders

Owners of ‘zombie’ knives and other dangerous weapons will face jail from today.

Cyclone knives and spiral knives are included in the updated Offensive Weapons Act 2019.

And later this year there will be further new powers aimed at stopping weapons being bought over the internet.

Aalmost a third of all knife offences were recorded in London at a rate of 152 offences per 100,000 population.

There were more than 35,800 incidents across the country last year – and 270 murders in the year to March 2020.

Home Secretary Priti Patel said: “Lives have been lost through serious violence, and this ban will help save lives by getting more knives and other weapons off the streets and out of the hands of violent criminals.

“From today, anyone possessing one of these deadly weapons unlawfully will face the full force of the law.”

A new legal definition of flick knives, banned since 1959, also takes effect.

All weapons banned in public by the Criminal Justice Act 1988, including zombie knives, shuriken or death stars and knuckledusters, will now also be banned in private, meaning people can no longer keep them at home.

If caught, they face six months imprisonment or a fine or both.

Anyone unlawfully possessing a converted firearm – including antiques - will face up to 10 years in prison.

The Antique Firearms Regulations 2021, introduced in March this year, provides for the first time a legal definition of ‘antique firearm’ to prevent criminals exploiting a lack of clarity in law to gain possession of such a weapon for use in crime.

The rest of the act will commence later in the year, and will bring in new provisions for the control of goods sold online, as well as placing responsibility onto delivery companies to conduct age verification at the doorstep.

Owners of firearms which have ceased to be antiques as a result of the 2021 Regulations have until 22 September this year to apply to the police for a firearms certificate, which allows them to own these weapons legally. Alternatively, they can surrender, sell or otherwise dispose of the firearm before 22 September.

The new legislation coincides with the start of a pilot in London that enables officers to target known knife carriers for stop and search.

Forces welcomed the new powers as a way of preventing offences.

National Police Chiefs' Council lead on knife crime, Deputy Assistant Commissioner Graham McNulty, said: “These measures will help officers to seize more dangerous weapons, deal with those intent on using them to cause harm and suffering, and crucially, make it more difficult for young people to get hold of knives and other dangerous items in the first place.”

But he renewed the familiar warning that it was a social problem for communities that forces couldn’t arrest their way out of.

“Knife crime is not something that can be solved by policing alone. We are working with businesses, schools, charities and community schemes to educate young people and explain why carrying a knife is never the right choice. This early intervention plays a vitally important role in stopping young people from turning to a life of crime,” he said.

That message was backed by officers leading operations against known offenders.

Hampshire Constabulary’s Lead for Knife Crime, Chief Inspector John Halfacre, said: “The update in the Offensive Weapons Act 2019 should considerably reduce the risk to our communities from the threat, harm and risk these weapons do and can pose, especially when used in criminality.

"I’m confident this will help to change the mind-set of those young people in our communities who may have otherwise thought about owning an offensive weapon.

He added: "I would also like to encourage our communities to play their part in helping us tackle this issue. Please share our knife crime message, talk openly with family members and friends and report any concerns you have.”

Leave a Comment
View Comments 2
In Other News
Blanket stop and search challenged by researchers
Knife prevention orders start in capital as two teenagers killed
Greater Manchester defends plans to put more officers in schools
Londoners must "break wall of silence" on knife crime, pleads Met
New knife crime toolkit
More News