On Thursday 16 May 2019, the Offensive Weapons Bill received Royal Assent and will now be known as the Offensive Weapons Act.
Knife crime and acid attacks are issues of considerable public concern. These crimes have a devastating impact on communities, not just in our major cities but across the country.
The measures within the Offensive Weapons Bill will provide greater protection for the public and communities and deliver on the government’s commitment to tackle serious violence and provide law enforcement with the powers they need to keep the public safe.
The bill will:
- create a new criminal offence of selling (both online and offline) a corrosive product to a person under the age of 18 – the substances and concentration levels of what constitutes a corrosive product are set out in the bill
- create a new criminal offence of possessing a corrosive substance in a public place – there is a defence of possessing the corrosive substance for good reason
- create new criminal offences prohibiting the dispatch of bladed products and corrosive products sold online to a residential address – the offence for bladed products is limited to those that can cause serious injury and includes defences for made-to-order items and those for sporting and re-enactment purposes
- create new criminal offences on delivery companies of delivering a bladed article or a corrosive product on behalf of a seller based outside the United Kingdom to a person under 18
- update the definition of a flick knife and prohibit the possession of flick knives and gravity knives (their sale is already prohibited)
- amend section 141 of the Criminal Justice Act 1988 to make it a criminal offence to possess certain offensive weapons (such as knuckledusters and zombie knives)
- extend the existing offences of possessing a bladed article or offensive weapon on school premises to cover further education premises
- amend the legal test for the offence of threatening with an offensive weapon to aid prosecution
- prohibit high energy and rapid firing firearms and a device known as a bump stock which increases the rate of fire of rifles and provide for compensation for owners of such weapons
Documents related to the Offensive Weapons Bill can be found on the Parliament website.
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