The 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 knives can have cutting blades of up to 25 inches, have a serrated edge and include images or words that glamorise violence.
This year, 13 police forces undertook coordinated action against knife crime, with further weeks of action planned for later this year. The coordinated response by police resulted in 401 arrests, 2,111 weapons taken off the street, and involved targeting habitual knife carriers, weapon sweeps, test purchases of knives from identified retailers and use of surrender bins.
Minister for Vulnerability, Safeguarding and Countering Extremism, Sarah Newton, 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.
We committed to banning the sale, manufacture and importation of these dangerous weapons. With the ban now becoming law, we are delivering on our commitment. Anyone caught making or selling zombie knives now faces up to 4 years in prison.
Chief Constable Alf Hitchcock, National Police Chiefs’ Council 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 is no place for knife crime within society and this ban is further commitment to keeping communities safe.
Following discussions between the UK government and Northern Ireland Executive, Minister of Justice Claire Sugden has confirmed she will take forward the necessary action to create legislation to ban zombie knives in Northern Ireland.
The Home Office will communicate the ban in England and Wales to frontline border officers, and Border Force will continue enforcing the law around the importation of dangerous weapons, including zombie knives, into the United Kingdom.
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.