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Changes to legislation brought about by the Offensive Weapons Act 2019 mean that from today (Wednesday 14 July) it is now an offence to possess certain items such as knuckledusters, throwing stars and zombie knives, even in private.
Other sections of the act that will start today include an updated definition of flick knives to reflect changes in weapon designs, and the banning of private possession of flick knives and gravity knives.
The rest of the act will commence later in the year, and will bring in new provisions for the control of goods sold online, as well as placing responsibility on delivery companies to conduct age verification at delivery stage. These are important developments that will help us to address the growing issue of online sale of knives.
Police and partners will be working to educate the public and the business community regarding these changes in legislation. The introduction of such measures will provide us with further means to help deter young people from becoming involved in knife possession and knife crime.
Detective Superintendent Michelle Keen, of Leicestershire Police’s Violent Complex Crime Unit, said: “Today we welcome the changes to the Offensive Weapons Act which will help our officers remove dangerous weapons from our streets.
“Our officers are working hard to protect communities, tackle this abhorrent crime and educate people on the harm it causes and crucially, this new legislation will make it more difficult for young people to get hold of knives and other dangerous items in the first place.
“If you are a retail business we would urge you to make sure you are aware of how the change in legislation affects you.
“Knife crime remains a force priority for Leicestershire Police and the additions to the legislation will support our officers to further tackle serious violent crime.
“We hope that the new legislation acts as a deterrent to those who may have considered possessing a dangerous weapon and we would urge anyone with an illegal knife or weapon to take this opportunity to dispose of it safely and anonymously using one of our special surrender bins, they are located in number of locations across Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland and details of their addresses can be found on our website.
“Knife crime has a devastating impact on both families and communities, and cannot be solved by policing alone. We have the complex task of trying to reach individuals motivated or pressured to carry knives and educate them about the serious consequences of carrying a weapon. We know that early years prevention is key to what we do and will continue to work in collaboration with partners, the community and the Violence Reduction Network in our joint commitment to tackle violent crime.
“We believe that violence is preventable and that everyone has a role to play. If you are looking for help and support, we want to emphasise that change is possible and there are resources available to adults and young people through our website.
“If you are a concerned family member or friend there is also information on our website to help you, including multi-lingual flyers and a 10 step guide to starting a conversation with a young person.
The public will be able to hand over unwanted knives to surrender bins at Mansfield House, Spinney Hill, Keyham Lane, Beaumont Leys and Braunstone police stations. The bins are available for people to safely and anonymously dispose of a knife. For more information on the amnesty bin locations please visit Leicestershire Police’s website here.