‘Zombie knives’ banned in England and Wales by amendment to Criminal Justice Act

An amendment to the Criminal Justice Act 1988 will ban the sale, manufacture, rental or importation of knives often referred to as ‘zombie knives’, ‘zombie killer knives’ and ‘zombie slayer knives’. The ban comes into effect on Thursday 18 August.

These knives can have cutting blades of up to 25 inches, include a serrated edge and harbour images or words that glamorise violence.

During 2016, 13 police forces have undertaken co-ordinated action against knife crime, with further weeks of action planned for later this year. The co-ordinated response by the police has resulted in 401 arrests, 2,111 weapons being taken off the streets and the targeting of habitual knife carriers as well as weapon sweeps, test purchases of knives from identified retailers and the encouraged use of surrender bins.

Sarah Newton, the Government’s Minister for Vulnerability, Safeguarding and Countering Extremism, said: “This Government will act wherever necessary to cut crime and keep our communities safe. ‘Zombie killer knives’ glamorise violence and cause devastating damage. They have no place whatsoever in our society.”

Newton added: “We committed to banning the sale, manufacture and importation of these dangerous weapons. With the ban now becoming law, we’re delivering on our commitment. Anyone caught making or selling ‘zombie knives’ now faces up to four years in prison.”

No place for knife crime

Chief Constable Alf Hitchcock, the National Police Chiefs’ Council’s Lead for Knife-Enabled Crime, said: “‘Zombie knives’ are absolutely horrific weapons. Forces are determined to reduce the harm caused by these and all other dangerous weapons. There’s no place for knife crime within society. This new ban is a further commitment to keeping communities safe.”

Following discussions between the UK Government and the Northern Ireland Executive, Minister of Justice Claire Sugden has confirmed she will take forward the necessary action to create legislation aimed at banning ‘zombie knives’ in Northern Ireland.

The Home Office will communicate the ban in England and Wales to front line border officers, while Border Force officials will continue enforcing the law around the importation of dangerous weapons – including ‘zombie knives’ – into the UK.

The new law comes in addition to Government action to address knife crime through an agreement with retailers committing to regular staff training, safely displaying and securely packaging knives, raising public awareness of age restrictions and robust age verification checks for knife sales whether in-store or online.

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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