Amendment 88

Part of Offensive Weapons Bill - Report (2nd Day) – in the House of Lords at 4:00 pm on 4th March 2019.

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Photo of Lord Lucas Lord Lucas Conservative 4:00 pm, 4th March 2019

My Lords, if we are going to have this arrangement whereby overseas sellers are advantaged, at least we need to make it effective. At the moment, if I was to go on to a foreign website and order a flick knife that was then dropped into the post, it could come straight to me. Such a prohibited weapon could come to me if I was 14 years old. Nothing in the process would allow it to be intercepted. There is an arrangement in the Bill for overseas sellers who choose to use a contracted delivery arrangement in the UK, which would presumably apply to Amazon fulfilment or a similar arrangement, whereby age verification would take place on the doorstep. However, we are allowing an enormous hole to appear: if someone uses a common carrier such as the Post Office, there is nothing to stop a product ordered overseas being delivered straight to a minor at a residential address. If there is to be this enormous disadvantage on British businesses, let us at least have effective controls on overseas websites.

When goods come into this country, they are, by and large, inspected. We are concerned about people shipping pistols into this country and keep an eye out for such packages. The same techniques will be effective against bladed products. However, if someone involved in that process discovers a bladed product in a standard, unmarked pack, it is currently unclear whether they have a right to do anything about it. If we are to allow knives to arrive in unmarked standard postal packages, it would defeat the whole purpose of a great chunk of the Bill. To stop that happening it should be clear that when something is identified as a bladed product, and the arrangements for making sure that it will be signed for by an adult on delivery have not been complied with, the authorities must be able to confiscate that product, or the Bill does not work. I beg to move.