Changes to legislation on possession of weapons in private premises

Changes in the law mean it’s now an offence to possess certain prohibited weapons in private premises, such as knuckledusters, throwing stars, zombie knives, flick knives and gravity knives.

Under the new Offensive Weapons Act 2019, anyone found in possession of a weapon listed in the legislation, either in a public place or private premises, faces up to six months imprisonment or a fine or both if convicted.

Anyone unlawfully possessing a firearm covered by the ban will face up to 10 years in prison.

Other changes will come into force later this year, which will mean anyone looking to buy bladed articles online will have to verify they are 18 or over.

Detective Inspector Neal Miller, of the Serious Violence Unit, said: “Possession of prohibited weapons in public is already illegal.

“The new legislation now makes it illegal to possess them in private, which means we can remove even more of these weapons and keep people safe from harm.

“We’ve also been working closely with Border Force to tackle the importation of illegal weapons and drugs, and have seized more than 400 packages since February last year.

“Finding illegal weapons before they can be used to hurt someone means we can prevent violent crime from happening in the first place.”

Countywide, there were 629 fewer violence with injury offences in the year to the end of June, a drop of just over 4 per cent. This equates just over seven offences per 1,000 people in Essex.
There have also been 185 fewer crimes recorded for possession of an offensive weapon, a drop of almost 13 per cent, in the 12 months to June.

DI Miller said: “We use intelligence-led hot spot Policing, stop and search and proactive patrols to catch offenders, and gather evidence to identify and arrest suspects involved in violent crime.

“Our main focus is to educate and intervene, whilst diverting people away from carrying knives, but that can’t be solved by us alone.

“That’s why we work closely with charities and other organisations to address the reasons why people carry weapons in the first place.”

A man is among the first in the UK to be charged with possession of an offensive weapon in a private place after specialist officers executed a warrant in Wickford.

He is due to appear before Southend Magistrates today.

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Mick Ferris

Editor Email: [email protected]