Making people safe - cracking down on zombie knives and machetes

Today the government announced plans to crackdown on zombie knives and machetes - protecting the public from these awful weapons while punishing the criminals who use them.

Getting the law right on knives is challenging, because some types of knives have so many legitimate uses - for example even kitchen knives, which are an essential tool for preparing food, can be extremely dangerous when misused. But there are knives in circulation which were designed from the word go not as tools but as weapons.

  • Many of these deadly knives are used in horrific attacks and to terrorise their victims and the public. Their ready availability online means they are increasingly common on our streets.
  • That is why the government has today launched a seven-week consultation to crackdown on zombie knives, which will look at giving the police greater powers to seize and destroy these weapons and impose harsher penalties on the criminals selling them.
  • These steps will help to make our streets safer for everyone - reducing the number of appalling attacks while punishing those responsible. 

Comments

Paul Holdsworth said…
Heard it all before, Chris.

In 2016, the then Home Secretary Theresa May said she would introduce legislation to ban zombie knives.

In 2018, Home Secretary Amber Rudd said the same thing.

In 2019, Home Secretary Sajid Javid said the same thing.

In 2021, Home Secretary Priti Patel said the same thing.

So have the Tories banned Zombie knives yet?

No.

Is Home Secretary Suella Braverman banning them?

No - of course not.

She's starting another consultation.

Thirteen years of Tories doing nothing, but making a lot of noise about it. Past time for a General Election.
Chris Whiteside said…
I wrote in my article that getting the law right on this is challenging.

We need to outlaw the use of knives as weapons without accidentally making criminals of people who innocently use them for any of the dozens of entirely legitimate uses, from woodworking to opening parcels to food preparation, for which knives are not just acceptable but pretty much essential.

So is is absolutely right that, as is made very clear in the original post, there should be a consultation before the legislation to make sure we get it right.

What is untrue is the suggestion that there has been no previous action to tackle knife crime under the Conservative government. For example, there actually was legislation on knives in 2016, which gives police the power to confiscate and prosecute possession of zombie knives in private homes if they meet three criteria. The knives must have a cutting edge, a serrated edge and “images or words that suggest it is to be used for the purpose of violence”.

The government is now listening to concerns expressed by police chiefs about whether those criteria are the right ones, and that is why there is now a consultation which is expected to lead to further legislation.
Paul Holdsworth said…
Here we go again. The linked BBC website says the promise is to BAN Zombie Knives - it's that promise that I've said is empty. I've not said there's been no progress on knife crime. Why not answer the criticism made, instead of putting words in my mouth?
Chris Whiteside said…
This is getting a bit petty.

Your exact words were "thirteen years of Tories doing nothing."

This is simply not correct, and I pointed out that it is untrue to suggest that there had been no previous action, and gave as an example that there had been legislation on the subject in 2016, (when Theresa May was initially Home Secretary and later PM.)

I could have added, and will do so now, that there was also an Offensive Weapons Bill introduced while Amber Rudd was Home Secretary which continued its' passage through parliament as the Offensive Weapons Act while Sajid Javid was Home Secretary.

And therefore both of them kept their promise to progress laws to restrict these knives.

That act came into force while Priti Patel was Home secretary, and at that point that she said, not that she would introduce further legislation, but that those caught with knives would "face the full force of the law" under the Offensive Weapons Act which her two predecessors had introduced.

Priti Patel's opinion was shared by the National Police Chiefs’ Council lead on knife crime, deputy assistant commissioner Graham McNulty, who said that the Act would make it harder for young people to get hold of weapons.

He added

“We welcome the changes to legislation being introduced by the Offensive Weapons Act.”

“These measures will help officers to seize more dangerous weapons, deal with those intent on using them to cause harm and suffering, and crucially, make it more difficult for young people to get hold of knives and other dangerous items in the first place.”


So the four Conservative Home Secretaries you accused of "doing nothing" - your exact words - did take action to put laws on the statute book restricting Zombie knives, and both my previous post and this one are responding to something which you wrote, not "putting words in your mouth."


Now, if you HAD written that "there's been no progress on knife crime,"

- which I did not accuse you of writing -

I would not have agreed with that opinion, but if you were to write that we have not made ENOUGH progress on this subject, you would be absolutely right, because too many people are still being killed and injured by knife crime.

That is why we are now consulting on how to make sure that the further legislation which will be introduced is as effective as possible.
Paul Holdsworth said…
Petty indeed - if there's no intention to ban these knives, why link to a story saying exactly that? If there IS an intention to ban these knives (as claimed in the story you linked to), then my criticism is justified.
Chris Whiteside said…
Is the intention to introduce further legislation which will give the police more ability to protect the public from these knives? Yes.

What is happening now is a consultation on how to make that legislation more effective than previous attempts to get rid of these knives them have proved.

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