Law on sale of knives to under-18s to be tightened, says policing minister

Possession of corrosive substances in public places is to be banned under new draft guidelines.

Knives and other weapons that were deposited into weapon surrender bins
Knives and other weapons that were deposited into weapon surrender bins

Measures making it harder for young people to buy knives and corrosive products, including online, have been set out by the Government in its latest effort to tackle youth violence.

Under new guidance expected to come into force in April, the sale and delivery of corrosive products to under-18s will be banned and rules on the sale of knives to under-18s strengthened.

Age verification requirements will be tightened at both the point of sale and delivery, with specific requirements on the labelling of packages containing knives or corrosive substances to prevent them being handed over to under-18s.

It will also become an offence to possess a corrosive substance in a public place.

Minister for Crime and Policing Kit Malthouse
Policing minister Kit Malthouse said there is a ‘moral duty’ to prevent the illegal possession of knives (Aaron Chown/PA)

Policing minister Kit Malthouse said: “Too many lives have already been lost to youth violence and it horrifies me that young people carry or use such dangerous weapons like knives and acids.

“We all have a moral duty to do everything we can to stop the illegal possession of such weapons and these measures will be vital to stop them getting into the hands of the young people of Britain.

“Knife crime has fallen since 2019, but we are determined to eradicate this entirely.

“These new measures will help to stop them getting on to our streets, and we are already investing significantly in early intervention programmes which divert young people away from crime and into education and jobs.”

The measures are contained in draft statutory guidance on the implementation of the final elements of the Offensive Weapons Act 2019.

Ministers said they are being published now to give retailers, delivery companies, the police and others time to prepare for when they come into force in the spring.

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