As a general rule, you would need lawful authority to be carrying any offensive weapon or any article that has a blade (or sharp point).
Information in this section clarifies current laws for carrying a knife, or any dangerous weapon, in a public place in the United Kingdom.
OFFENSIVE WEAPON DEFINITION: The answer comes from section 1 of the Prevention of Crime Act 1953 and section 139 of the Criminal Justice Act 1988.
It defines an offensive weapon as any article made, or adapted, for the use of causing injury to a person.
The laws also apply to the 'intention' of use. That means a person having the weapon with him for use either by himself or by some other person.
Note: The definition of an offensive weapon also applies to a 'disguised' knife or bladed article.
As a rule, you need lawful authority (or a reasonable excuse) to carry an offensive weapon in a public place. If not, you would be committing an offence in the United Kingdom.
Even so, some exemptions apply to this rule (e.g. those used in the workplace). Other examples include legal weapons to carry or used as part of a national costume or for religious reasons.
The Offensive Weapons Act takes full effect from 2021. But, the police weapons scheme offers cash payments to lawful owners for surrendering certain banned items ahead of new legislation.
Designated police forces are offering cash to owners of certain types of dangerous weapons. The aim of the new initiative is to encourage people to hand in their bladed knives, knuckle-dusters, and firearms.
Compensation only applies to claims with a value of at least £30, but you can get:
Important: The Offensive Weapons Act surrender and compensation scheme runs for three months (from the 10th of December 2020 to the 9th of March 2021).
The government announced further action on tackling violent crime and acts of serious violence taking place in the community.
Some of the most notable weaponry cited in the ban includes:
In fact, many switchblades have been banned since 1959. Even so, the government introduced an amendment to the legal definition of flick knives to outlaw more of these bladed weapons.
The new legislation means armaments previously banned in public by the Criminal Justice Act 1988 now includes private use as well (e.g. at home). The rules add the following to the list of banned items:
Important: Unlawful possession of any firearm covered by the new ban will result in ten year prison sentences. Committing offences with any of the other weapons can result in a fine, a period of six months imprisonment, or both.
Note: Did you find the answer you were searching for in this list of offensive weapons? If not, you might find it under a different category in the Police Questions and Answers section.
Answering Police Questions about Offensive Weapons in United Kingdom