The main things you should be aware of are:
- if you’re under 18, it’s illegal to buy most types of knives
- anyone over 10 can be charged and taken to court if they’re caught with an illegal knife – even if it’s the first time they’ve been stopped by the police
- if you're caught carrying a knife, you could receive a community sentence, a fine or be detained in custody
- you could be searched at any time if a police officer thinks you may be carrying a knife
- even if you’re carrying a knife that you’re legally allowed to (like a penknife with a blade that’s shorter than three inches), it becomes illegal if you use it as a weapon to threaten or harm anyone
The maximum sentence for anyone found guilty of carrying an illegal knife is now four years. If you injure someone or use a knife to commit a crime the penalties could be a lot worse.
You don’t have to be the one using the knife to be found guilty.
The law is clear and unforgiving. If your presence, knowledge, or actions lead to a serious crime such as murder, you too could be charged with murder. This is referred to in law as ‘joint enterprise’.
This means that it’s not just the person who uses the knife or gun that could be charged with murder. It could be anyone who was with them, or knew or did something which led to it happening.
If you weren’t charged with murder, you could be charged with other offences such as aiding and abetting.
If you’re concerned that someone you know might be involved in knife crime, find out where to get help.
If you would like to find out more information about the law on weapons, visit these websites: