Tougher laws banning people from having deadly zombie knives even in their own homes from today will be used to full effect - Nottinghamshire Police has vowed.
It is now an offence to possess certain items such as knuckledusters, throwing stars, zombie knives, butterfly knives and telescopic truncheons – even in private – due to changes in the Offensive Weapons Act 2019.
Previously possession of these weapons was only an offence if they were taken out in public.
Other sections of the act that will kick in from today include an updated definition of flick knives to reflect changes in weapon designs, and the banning of private possession of flick knives and gravity knives.
Nottinghamshire Police has vowed to utilise the powers as they will alllow officers to take even more deadly weapons out of circulation in Nottinghamshire and drive down knife crime even further.
The force will also be working with partners to educate the public and the business community regarding these changes in legislation.
Chief Inspector Kathryn Craner, Nottinghamshire Police’s knife crime lead, said: “I very much welcome these additional powers which will ensure we are even better equipped to tackle knife crime, enable us to take even more potentially deadly weapons out of harm’s way and prevent them from getting into the wrong people’s hands in the first instance.
“Our officers have quickly been brought up to speed about these changes and will be making full use of the legislation during their proactive search activity. It will bolster the tireless work we do all year round with our partners to crack down on weapon-related crime and violence and to protect the public.
“The impact of knife crime can be devastating are we are absolutely determined to use all the powers at our disposal to keep violence levels down.
“Early intervention remains vital and we continue to work hard every day to help educate vulnerable young people about the dangers of knife crime and encourage them to make good life decisions, diverting them away from violence and criminality.”
Other changes to the law will start later in the year, and will bring in new provisions for the control of goods sold online, as well as placing responsibility on to delivery companies to conduct age verification at delivery stage. These important developments will help to address the growing issue of online sale of knives.
National figures show that knife crime in Nottinghamshire fell by ten per cent in the 2020 calendar year as the force’s dedicated knife crime team continues to have an impact.
Further sustained reductions were achieved after the knife crime team doubled in size earlier this year, boosting its capacity to tackle violence and crime, seize dangerous weapons and drugs and keep people safe.
The force was able to swell the team’s ranks due to being at the forefront of the national police recruitment drive through Operation Uplift, which is recruiting hundreds of extra officers to our front line while also becoming more representative of the communities it serves.
As well as strong proactive enforcement activity to crack down on knife crime, education and prevention work is vital to Nottinghamshire’s approach.
This includes specialist schools and early intervention officers who are working with children across the county, educating them about the consequences of carrying a knife and encouraging them to make positive life choices.
Another key driver helping to steer young people away from knife crime and violence is Nottinghamshire’s Violence Reduction Unit which continues to work with vulnerable individuals and families to help understand the root causes of violent crime, make a difference to young lives and put them on the road to a safer and more positive future.
Street outreach workers, a custody diversion scheme and other initiatives including the Ben Kinsella Trust at the National Justice Museum also serve to educate young people and help prevent them becoming involved in violent behaviour.
Nottinghamshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner, Caroline Henry, added: “I’ve been very clear that I want to prevent harm before it happens, so I welcome this legislation which undoubtedly supports that aim. I’m also clear that knives can kill. Those who carry these ultimately lethal weapons need to know that that there are no excuses, we are tough on crime in Nottinghamshire and we will get tougher.”
The National Police Chiefs’ Council’s lead on knife crime, Deputy Assistant Commissioner Graham McNulty, said: “The harm caused to families and communities through the tragic loss of life relating to knife crime is devastating and that is why focusing on this issue remains a top priority for policing.
“We welcome the changes to legislation being introduced by the Offensive Weapons Act. These measures will help officers to take dangerous weapons off the streets, deal with those intent on using them to cause harm and suffering, and crucially, make it more difficult for young people to get hold of knives and other dangerous items in the first place.
“Knife crime is not something that can be solved by policing alone. We are working with businesses, schools, charities and community schemes to educate young people and explain why carrying a knife is never the right choice. This early intervention plays a vitally important role in stopping young people from turning to a life of crime.”
To find out more, search ‘Offensive Weapons Act 2019’ online.