Conservative Government’s Offensive Weapons Act receives Royal Assent

The Offensive Weapons Act has received Royal Assent, bringing in tough new measures that strengthen law enforcement’s response to violent crime. The Act will make it illegal to possess dangerous weapons in private, including knuckledusters, zombie knives and death star knives, and will also make it a criminal offence to dispatch bladed products sold online without verifying the buyer is over 18.

The Home Secretary, Sajid Javid, is providing additional support to the police through Knife Crime Prevention Orders. These will act as a deterrent to those vulnerable to becoming involved in knife crime. They will also enable the courts to place restrictions on individuals to help the police manage those at risk in the community.

Guidance on the process for Knife Crime Prevention Orders will be published, including operational guidance to police forces, ahead of a pilot in London.

Javid stated: “As Home Secretary, I’m doing everything in my power to tackle the scourge of serious violence. Our new Offensive Weapons Act is a central part of this. These new laws will give police extra powers to seize dangerous weapons and ensure knives are less likely to make their way on to the streets in the first place. The Act will also see the introduction of Knife Crime Prevention Orders – a power the police called for. As well as tough law enforcement, it’s hugely important we continue our work to steer young people away from a life of crime in the first place.”

The Act includes a number of other measures to tackle serious violence, among them:

Home Secretary Sajid Javid

Home Secretary Sajid Javid

*a ban on the possession, manufacture and sale of rapid firing rifles and bump stocks, which increase a rifle’s rate of fire. The ban on the manufacture and sale of these weapons has now come into force with immediate effect

*a ban on selling bladed products to a residential address without age verification

*updating the definition of flick knives to reflect changing weapon designs and banning private possession of flick knives and gravity knives

*changing the legal definition for threatening someone with an offensive weapon to make prosecutions easier

*banning the sale of corrosive products to under 18s

*making it an offence to possess a corrosive substance in a public place

The Government will also consult on guidance for some of the new measures in the Act and engage with businesses and industry on how the legislation will affect them before it comes into force.

The Offensive Weapons Act and strong law enforcement form part of the Government’s Serious Violence Strategy, which combines tough action with the vital need to steer young people away from crime in the first place.

Recently, the Government launched a £200 million, ten-year Youth Endowment Fund to create a generational shift in violent crime. There’s also an ongoing consultation on a new ‘public health duty’ which is intended to help spot the warning signs that a young person could be in danger.

About the Author
Brian Sims BA (Hons) Hon FSyI, Editor, Risk UK (Pro-Activ Publications) Beginning his career in professional journalism at The Builder Group in March 1992, Brian was appointed Editor of Security Management Today in November 2000 having spent eight years in engineering journalism across two titles: Building Services Journal and Light & Lighting. In 2005, Brian received the BSIA Chairman’s Award for Promoting The Security Industry and, a year later, the Skills for Security Special Award for an Outstanding Contribution to the Security Business Sector. In 2008, Brian was The Security Institute’s nomination for the Association of Security Consultants’ highly prestigious Imbert Prize and, in 2013, was a nominated finalist for the Institute's George van Schalkwyk Award. An Honorary Fellow of The Security Institute, Brian serves as a Judge for the BSIA’s Security Personnel of the Year Awards and the Securitas Good Customer Award. Between 2008 and 2014, Brian pioneered the use of digital media across the security sector, including webinars and Audio Shows. Brian’s actively involved in 50-plus security groups on LinkedIn and hosts the popular Risk UK Twitter site. Brian is a frequent speaker on the conference circuit. He has organised and chaired conference programmes for both IFSEC International and ASIS International and has been published in the national media. Brian was appointed Editor of Risk UK at Pro-Activ Publications in July 2014 and as Editor of The Paper (Pro-Activ Publications' dedicated business newspaper for security professionals) in September 2015. Brian was appointed Editor of Risk Xtra at Pro-Activ Publications in May 2018.

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