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Tough New Weapons Laws Hit the Statute Book

On 16th May 2019 the controversial Offensive Weapons bill received Royal Assent, bringing into law the Offensive Weapons Act 2019.

Why were new weapons laws thought necessary?

This legislation has been passed in order to assist in stemming the current problems in relation to knife crime and other serious offending involving weapons.  Whether or not it will be successful remains to be seen.

These new weapons laws do, however, bring in a number of new measure that we will be monitoring closely.

new weapons offences

Are the new laws in force now?

As with most Acts of Parliament different provisions come in to force at different times.  As a result, if you have any questions please consult us to ascertain the up to date position.

What are the main changes?

New offences:

Sale of corrosive products to persons under 18

This offence carries a maximum sentence of 6 months imprisonment and may present a significant challenge for some smaller retailers.  They will need to ensure that comprehensive training is provided to all sales staff to avoid the potential prosecution and punishment.

The offence of having a corrosive substance in a public place

This offence carries a maximum sentence of 4 years’ imprisonment.

The offence of breaching knife crime prevention order

This offence carries a maximum sentence of 5 years’ imprisonment.

Sale etc. of bladed articles to persons under 18

This provision extends existing law but introduces several complex challenges for retailers.

Online retailers will also be affected by these provisions.

Knife Crime Prevention Orders:

This new order is essentially a ‘knife crime ASBO’.  It is one of the most stringent preventative orders ever to have been brought into law.

This aspect of the new weapons laws has been widely condemned.  The scheme is likely to be piloted first in London.  The implementation is likely to be extremely controversial.  We are currently awaiting further details of the pilot along with statutory guidance on their use.

Other changes of note:
  • Amendments to the definition of “flick knife” to cover knives fully opened from a partially open condition and by ‘manual pressure applied to a button, spring or other device in or attached to the knife’. This change will close existing ‘loopholes’ in the current legislation
  • Prohibition on the possession of certain dangerous knives
  • Prohibition on the possession of offensive weapons on further education premises
  • Prohibition on the possession of offensive weapons (numerous statutory amendments)
Numerous changes to offences concerning:
  • The offence of threatening with an offensive weapon etc. in a public place etc
  • The offence of threatening with an offensive weapon etc. on further education premises
  • The offence of threatening with an offensive weapon etc. in a private place
  • Searches for corrosive substance on school or further education premises
  • Various firearms offences

We will be carefully monitoring the implementation of these new measures to ensure that we are always able to provide up to date and comprehensive advice to our clients, whether in police interview or at court.

Contact an expert about the new weapons laws

If you are arrested or know that the police wish to speak to you about any offending involving a weapon then make sure you insist on your right to free and independent legal advice.  The courts will always take such offences seriously upon conviction.

The advantages of such early advice legal advice can be found here.

If you have already been interviewed or face court proceedings we can still make a real difference to the outcome of your case.

Legal aid may well be available to fund your defence at court.

We have offices across the East Midlands and will happily travel across the country to provide representation for all football related offences.

VHS Fletchers offices across the East Midlands

Alternatively you can contact us using the form below.

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