Offence of threatening with an offensive weapon etc in a private place

Part of Offensive Weapons Bill – in the House of Commons at 4:00 pm on 28th November 2018.

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Photo of Victoria Atkins Victoria Atkins The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department, Minister for Women 4:00 pm, 28th November 2018

I shall move on to new clause 1. David Hanson continues to raise the issue of the safety of retail staff, and I thank him for that. Indeed, I recently discussed that issue with him, and also with the head of the British Retail Consortium. Although the Government fully understand the concern of retailers and their staff about being threatened or attacked if they refuse to sell a corrosive product or bladed article to a member of the public, we do not believe that a new criminal offence as set out in new clauses 1 and 14 would provide additional protection or result in more people being prosecuted. The law already provides the police and Crown Prosecution Service with sufficient powers to prosecute this type of offending and provide protection to retail staff. A number of criminal offences are available to cover a wide range of unacceptable behaviour, including that described in the tabled amendments, ranging from abusive and threatening language to actual violent offences against the person. So, we submit that there is no gap.