Did you know?
- If you carry a knife, even if it’s for your own protection or for someone else, you will be arrested and prosecuted
- Possession of a knife carries a prison sentence of up to four years, even if it's not used, and you will get a criminal record
- If you stab somebody and they die, you could face a life sentence
- Some people carry knives to protect themselves and 'keep safe'. But if you carry a knife you are much more likely to use it and to get stabbed yourself
- There is no ‘safe place’ to stab someone. A wound in the arm or leg can still be life-threatening. If a knife punctures an artery you can bleed to death within a minute
- Police can and will search anyone they believe is carrying a knife.
What is a knife crime?
A knife is classed as an offensive weapon. Knife crime includes any offence where a sharp instrument is used or possessed that would pierce the skin.
Knife crime includes:
- carrying a knife or trying to buy a knife if you are under 18
- threatening someone with a knife
- owning a banned knife
- injuring or murdering somebody with a knife
- intent to injure or harm somebody with a knife
- a robbery or burglary where a knife was carried as a weapon
Here are some useful FAQs about knives.
Can you be arrested for having a knife even if you don’t use it?
Yes. It’s an offence for any person who, without lawful authority or reasonable excuse, has with them in any public place any offensive weapon. This means it is illegal to carry a knife in public without good reason.
Am I breaking the law by carrying a small folding knife?
No. You can carry a knife in public if it has a folding blade that is 3 inches (7.62cm) or less in length. However if any knife is used to threaten or intimidate it is considered an offensive weapon. Lock knives are not classed as folding knives and are illegal to carry in public.
I'd like to dispose of some kitchen knives. How can I do this?
Knives can be recycled at your local household waste recycling points. Before the knives are recycled they should be well wrapped in order to prevent causing harm.
Are there any cases when I am allowed to carry a knife?
You will need to prove that you had good reason or lawful authority to be carrying a knife in a public place. Reasons are:
- for use at work
- for religious reasons
- as part of any national costume
- an exhibition at gallery or museum
- theatre/ TV/ historical re-enactments
I suspect someone I know is carrying a knife, how can I help them?