What do we mean by an offensive weapon?

The legal definition of an offensive weapon includes anything intended to be used to harm another person, like a sharpened comb. It's also illegal to carry a 'disguised knife' - anything with a concealed blade or sharp point that's made to look like an everyday object (like a pen, cigarette lighter or lipstick).

 "any article made or adapted for use to cause injury to a person, or intended by the person having it with him for such use".

Banned offensive weapons include:

  • Flick knives - also called 'switchblades' or 'automatic knives' - these are automatic knives with a blade hidden that "shoots" open.
  • Butterfly knives - these have a blade hidden inside the handle.
  • Disguised knives - in which the blade is hidden in something like a belt buckle or fake mobile phone.
  • Zombie knives  - a knife with a cutting edge, typically with decorated with violent images or text.

If you carry a knife or weapon...

  • You need to know that it is illegal to carry a knife or offensive weapon in a public place, except a folding pocket knife that has a blade less than 7.62 (3 inches) without a reasonable excuse.
  • If you carry a knife you are putting yourself at risk. People who carry a weapon are more likely to be injured or killed.
  • If you are caught in possession of a knife you could get up to four years in prison, even if the knife or weapon is not used.
  • Your actions could hurt or injure others including innocent people
  • There is no 'safe place' to stab someone. A wound in the arm or the leg can still be life threatening. People have died from small wounds because an artery was severed.
  • Any knife used to threaten or intimidate is considered an offensive weapon. 

If you are caught carrying a knife or offensive weapon...

  • Getting caught with a knife can mean a prison sentence of up to four years - even if it's not used.
  • If you are involved in stabbing another person and they die you could face a minimum of 10 years in prison.
  • If  you are with a group and someone is injured or killed by a knife you could be prosecuted. It doesn't matter if you didn't you use the knife. You could be sent to prison for assault or murder in what is referred to as 'joint enterprise'. 
  • If you have a criminal record you might not be accepted into a college or university, get a job, or travel to some countries, like the USA, Canada or Australia.
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