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

Part of Offensive Weapons Bill – in the House of Commons at 4:15 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 4:15 pm, 28th November 2018

Indeed, and I thank my hon. Friend for being kind enough to show me his great city only a few months ago. We met with senior police officers and others to discuss a number of issues relating to vulnerability, including the vulnerability of those being stalked. He brings to the Chamber his commitment to helping the most vulnerable in his constituency, and he has hit the nail on the head. Filling that gap to cover threatening behaviour in a private place makes it possible to address the sort of situation that he has described. Where gangs are in somebody’s home, perhaps at a party, and things turn nasty, the location of the person holding the knife changes under the current law depending on where they are in relation to the front door. The purpose of new clause 16 is to make it irrelevant whether their threatening behaviour takes place when they are standing on one side of the front door or the other.

New clause 5 concerns the secure display of bladed products. The hon. Member for Sheffield, Heeley, who tabled it, knows that I have taken great interest in this area. We have looked carefully at whether prohibition as set out in the new clause would address the concerns that she and others have rightly raised. Our concern is that the prohibition is a blanket requirement. I have looked into whether there are ways that we could make it more targeted, so that councils with a particular problem with knife crime can lay an order covering the display of bladed products in shops in their locality. What we are doing—not what we would like to do, but what we are in the process of doing—is encouraging much stronger voluntary action by retailers to take more robust measures on displays using a risk-based approach.