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

Part of Offensive Weapons Bill – in the House of Commons at 5:15 pm on 28th November 2018.

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Photo of Richard Graham Richard Graham Conservative, Gloucester 5:15 pm, 28th November 2018

I rise to comment on two of the new clauses. First, my hon. Friend the Minister has spoken convincingly on new clause 16 and there is widespread agreement in the House that extending the Bill to cover private places, as well as public places, is important. To add to what I said earlier, several recent knife crimes in Gloucester have been committed in public places, most tragically one at the All Nations club, one outside the Pike and Musket pub and others, but, more recently, some have been committed very much in private places—in flats and properties—and I am delighted that new clause 16 covers those places.

New clause 1 was tabled by David Hanson, and everyone in this House wants to see not just shop workers but everyone who engages with the public—including people who work in our railway and bus stations, who are often on the frontline against such antisocial behaviour—fully protected by the law against totally unnecessary behaviour by other members of the public.

It seems to me, and I stand to be corrected, that new clause 1 would apply only to the handling of corrosive substances or bladed instruments. Although that is a good thing, most shop workers want to know that if somebody intentionally obstructs them—in other words, if somebody acts in a threatening manner—that same behaviour would be a crime whether it is a bottle of beer, a bottle of whiskey or a bladed instrument. The new clause perhaps does not suit shop workers as well as it might, but I ask the Minister to consider taking it back to the Home Office for discussion to see what might be done about it.