Compensation offer for knife owners who surrender weapons to police
Owners of weapons including zombie knives and knuckledusters are being offered cash compensation to hand them in to police.
Items soon to be outlawed when the Offensive Weapons Act comes into force next year can be surrendered under a three-month Government scheme in England and Wales launched today (December 10).
It was already illegal to possess a knife or offensive weapon in public, but the new law makes it unlawful to possess certain rapid firing rifles, specific types of knives and other offensive weapons in private.
The list includes zombie knives, cyclone knives, knuckledusters, death star knives, flick-knives, gravity knives, batons, disguised knives, push daggers and other offensive weapons.
Lawful owners can claim compensation for handing them in to police if the total value of the claim is more than £30.
A form available on the Government’s website values a knuckleduster at £2, a zombie knife at £10, a blowpipe at £14 and a lever release .308 rifle at £5,105.
National Police Chiefs’ Council lead on knife crime, Deputy Assistant Commissioner Graham McNulty, said: “Tackling knife crime and reducing violence is a top priority for policing.
“The surrender scheme will enable us to remove dangerous weapons off the streets and assist in keeping our communities safe.
“Every weapon removed is possibly a life saved and I urge people to please help us make our streets safer.”
The Offensive Weapons Act was introduced by the Government in response to a spike in serious violence, including knife crime.
As well as prohibiting the possession of dangerous weapons in private, it also made it a criminal offence to sell bladed products online without verifying the buyer was aged over 18.
According to the latest knife crime figures for England and Wales, there were 18,108 offences in the year to September compared with 22,449 in the previous period.
The number of crimes recorded in the second quarter of 2020, during the height of the first wave of the coronavirus pandemic, fell to 2,786 compared with 4,925 in the first three months of the year, Ministry of Justice data showed.
This started to rise again between July and September to 5,190.
Some 6,426 offences resulted in immediate jail time in the year to September, down from 8,554 for the same period in 2019.
Crime and Policing Minister Kit Malthouse said: “I am committed to ensuring our streets are safe from the scourge of violent crime.
“We are prohibiting ownership of dangerous weapons which have a high potential for causing harm – every item surrendered is one which can no longer fall into the hands of criminals.
“The Government’s top priority will always be keeping the public safe and we are ensuring that our laws and police powers deliver on these commitments.”