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Knives: Sales

Home Office written question – answered on 13th February 2020.

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Photo of Lord Kennedy of Southwark Lord Kennedy of Southwark Opposition Whip (Lords), Shadow Spokesperson (Home Affairs), Shadow Spokesperson (Communities and Local Government), Shadow Spokesperson (Housing)

To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to ban the sale of machetes and large knives with serrated or other edges that do not already come under the existing classification of zombie knives.

Photo of Baroness Williams of Trafford Baroness Williams of Trafford The Minister of State, Home Department, Minister for Equalities (Department for International Development)

Keeping people safe is the Government’s top priority, including from violent crime involving the misuse of knives and other offensive weapons. This is why the law makes it an offence to carry a knife in public without good reason, makes it an offence to sell to under 18s and why a number of knives and offensive weapons, including zombie knives, are banned.

The Government does not currently have plans to ban any additional, specific types of knives, but we do keep the law under review and the Government will not hesitate to take action if needed. This is why we have strengthened the law on knives and other offensive weapons, through the Offensive Weapons Act 2019. The Act will make it an offence to possess certain offensive weapons in private, it will stop knives being sent to residential addresses after they are bought online, unless the seller has arrangements in place with the delivery company to ensure that the product will not be delivered to an under 18. The Act will also:

  • change the legal definition for threatening with an offensive weapon to make prosecutions more straightforward;
  • ban the possession of knives on a further education premises;
  • update the definition of a flick knife to reflect changing weapon designs;


  • introduce Knife Crime Prevention Orders to help the police target those most at risk of being drawn into serious violence.

The Government also works with retailers to encourage responsible sales of knives. We have agreed a set of commitments with eighteen major high-street and online retailers to prevent the sale of knives to under-18s, which cover staff training, displays, and packaging. We are continuing to work with retailers to stop knives getting into the hands of young people.

We have also committed to introducing a new court order to target known knife carriers and make it easier for the police to stop and search those convicted of knife crime offences, to deter them from continuing to carry knives, and to make it more likely that those who persist in doing so will be caught, brought before the courts, and sent to prison.

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