On 16th May 2019 the controversial Offensive Weapons bill received Royal Assent, bringing into law the Offensive Weapons Act 2019.
Why was this law passed?
This legislation is designed to deal with the current problems in relation to knife crime and other serious offending involving weapons, including acid attacks. Whether it will be successful in doing that does, of course, remain to be seen. However, there are, without doubt, a lot of new measures that we are monitoring closely.
Is it in force now?
As with most Acts of Parliament different provisions come in to force at different times, so do consult us to find out the latest position.
What are the main changes?
- 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 who will need to ensure that comprehensive training is provided to all sales staff to avoid 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’ and is one of the most stringent preventative orders ever to have been put on the statute book.
The new laws have been widely condemned, and the implementation (likely to be piloted first in London) will be equally as controversial. We are 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
- Search 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.
How we can assist
If you need specialist advice, then get in touch with John Howey on 020 7388 1658 or firstname.lastname@example.org and let us help. We deal with all manner criminal offences on a daily basis, from the initial investigation through to court proceedings. We have the expertise to get you the best result possible.Read More
After a recent spate of assaults involving the use of acids and other corrosive substances, the government has acted to try and curb their use. At the present time around 15 offences per week involve the use of acid and other like substances.
In January 2018, the Home Office announced a voluntary agreement with a number of major retailers in which they made commitments about the responsible sales of corrosive substances. This included not selling products containing the most harmful substances to under 18s. The agreement was developed with the British Retail Consortium and also tested with the Association of Convenience Stores and the British Independent Retailers Association, to ensure that the commitments were proportionate and worked in the retail environment.
The major retailers who have signed up to the commitments are: Wickes, Screwfix, B&Q, Wilko, Waitrose, John Lewis, Tesco, the Co-op, Morrisons, Aldi UK, Lakeland, Asda and Homebase.
On 1st November 2018 new legislation came in to force to further strengthen the controls against possessing corrosive substances.
There are controls in the Poisons Act 1972 on corrosive substances that can be used as poisons or as to make explosives.
Parliament has enacted a statutory instrument which makes sulphuric acid a regulated explosives precursor above a concentration level of 15%.
The effect of this will mean that members of the public will require a licence from the Home Office to be able to import, acquire, possess or use sulphuric acid.
What is the penalty for breaching this law?
If found guilty, the offence carries a maximum sentence of 2 years’ imprisonment.
How can we help?
The law is complicated and the potential consequences severe, for expert advice, please contact John Howey on 020 7388 1658 or email email@example.com.Read More