Wednesday, 4 July 2018

Offensive Weapons Bill and restrictions on knives delivery

Thank you for contacting me regarding the Offensive Weapons Bill and its restriction on the delivery of knives and blades sold online to a private residential address.

I appreciate that this is naturally an issue of concern to someone who would like to purchase knives and blades but is housebound.

The Offensive Weapons Bill forms a key part of the Government’s Serious Violence Strategy, in response to recent increases in serious violence, especially in knife crime, in England and Wales.

Under the new provisions of the bill, knives sold online must only be delivered to and collected - by the person who made the purchase - at a place where the age of the purchaser can be checked.

The primary motivation underpinning this new measure is the need to provide additional safeguards to current legislations that already make it an offence to sell knives to under-18s, as many online retailers have been struggling to implement age checks for online sales.  

While it is important that we are able to prevent teenagers and children from purchasing and obtaining knives online, I share your concerns that this measure might disproportionately affect adult users of knives that are housebound and members of rural communities, who have comparatively less access to the proposed collection points and also have a more diverse range of legitimate uses for specialist knives, which can often only be readily sourced online. 

The Bill received its second reading on 27 June and is now moving to committee stage. I note your concerns about section 15 of the Bill and will be seeking to raise them when it receives further scrutiny before Parliament in due course.