July 19, 2021. News

Director of VRU welcomes Offensive Weapons Act amendment

Changes to legislation brought about by the Offensive Weapons Act 2019 mean that it is now an offence to possess certain items such as knuckledusters, throwing stars and zombie knives, even in private.

Other sections of the act that commenced on Wednesday 14 June include an updated definition of flick knives to reflect changes in weapon designs, and the banning of private possession of flick knives and gravity knives.

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 delivery stage. These are important developments that will help us to address the growing issue of online sale of knives.

Police and partners will be working to educate the public and the business community regarding these changes in legislation. The introduction of such measures will provide us with further means to help deter young people from becoming involved in knife possession and knife crime.

National Police Chiefs’ Council lead on knife crime, Deputy Assistant Commissioner Graham McNulty, said: 

“The harm caused to families and communities through the tragic loss of life relating to knife crime is devastating and that is why focusing on this issue remains a top priority for policing.

“We welcome the changes to legislation being introduced by the Offensive Weapons Act. These measures will help officers to take dangerous weapons off the streets, 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.

“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.”

Superintendent Stan Gilmour, Thames Valley Police and the Director of the Thames Valley Violence Reduction Unit, said:

“We welcome this latest amendment to the Offensive Weapons Act, with more items now prohibited, even if only kept in a private home. There is no safe place to own these weapons and we urge anyone in possession to act responsibly and hand them in to your local police station

“Knives and offensive weapons create huge harm in our society.  We have seen too many tragic incidents where young lives are lost, with the families and futures destroyed of both victims and offenders alike. With every knife or offensive weapon being carried, there is the risk of a deadly result.

“As a priority area for the force, we have seen significant progress with recorded knife crime down 11% year-on –year. Thames Valley Police continues to deliver high-visibility patrols, a focus on hotspot areas and intelligence-led policing operations to bear down on those involved in crime, who carry weapons and put our communities at risk.

“Through our work with the Violence Reduction Unit and the strong work of our local partners and communities, we are also working to address the root causes of violence in our society, particularly to prevent young people being drawn into a vicious cycle of offending.”