Home Secretary orders review of crossbow laws

Home Secretary Priti Patel has ordered a review of the current rules surrounding crossbow ownership.

Dec 28, 2021
By Website Editor
Home Secretary Priti Patel

A Home Office spokesperson said in a statement the department has been instructed to look at possible ways to “strengthen controls” on the weapons.

“Crossbows are subject to controls and legislation is in place to deal with those who use them as a weapon,” the spokesperson said.

“At the Home Secretary’s request, we are considering options to strengthen controls on crossbows. Work on this has been ongoing throughout the year, and we keep all relevant laws under review to maintain public safety.”

It comes after a 19-year-old man was arrested at Windsor Castle on Christmas Day while allegedly in possession of a crossbow.

The Metropolitan Police Service said the man had been sectioned under the Mental Health Act.

Police are also reviewing a video that appears to show a masked figure in a dark hoodie holding a crossbow and addressing the camera with a distorted voice, saying they wanted to “assassinate the Queen” in a “revenge” mission.

According to the Daily Telegraph, Whitehall sources said officials had been instructed to “incorporate any lessons” from the Windsor Castle arrest into a review of crossbow laws which was ordered earlier this year.

Under current legislation, it is an offence for anyone under 18 to purchase or possess a crossbow and for anyone to sell a crossbow to someone aged under 18.

Crossbows may also be considered offensive weapons and are prohibited from being carried in a public place without lawful authority or reasonable excuse.

Demands for tighter regulation of crossbows initially came after the five-day inquest into the death of Shane Gilmer in April.

Mr Gilmer, 30, died after his neighbour, Anthony Lawrence, broke into his house in January 2018 and shot both him and his partner Laura Sugden, who survived the attack.

The coroner, Professor Paul Marks, submitted a report to Ms Patel in May in which he said he was concerned there is “no ongoing control, record or licensing requirement for (crossbows)”, unlike firearms.

Because of this, he said, “the police have no record of who owns crossbows, how they are stored (or) the number that are in circulation.”

The coroner called on the Government to review the Crossbows Act 1987 and the Offensive Weapons Act 2019, “with the intention of regulating the sale and possession of these lethal weapons”.

The issue of crossbow legislation was addressed in the October (681) issue of Police Professional. You can read the article here.


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