proposals to make it an offence to manufacture, sell, import or hire
disguised knives. Banning these weapons will help improve public
safety and follows similar legislation passed by the New York Senate,
Home Office minister John Denham said:
'Disguised weapons pose a significant risk to the public, airline and
ports staff. We have listened to the concerns of airport and other
authorities following September 11th and have moved quickly to clamp
down on the circulation of these weapons.
'With our Scottish colleagues we are making it an offence to
manufacture, sell, import or hire disguised knives. Under existing
legislation it is already an offence to possess these items in
public. This measure will have the positive effect of reducing the
number of disguised knives in circulation and giving police and
customs the powers to deal with those who seek to sell or manufacture
these weapons which are purposely produced to be portable and
concealable, or bring them into the country.'
1. An Order was laid in parliament on 15 May to extend the remit of
the Criminal Justice Act 1988 (Offensive Weapons Order) to include
'disguised knives'. A similar measure took place in the Scottish
parliament. The legislation also extends to Northern Ireland.
2. This order has been debated in committee in the house of commons
and will be debated in the house of lords on Friday 21st June. It was
debated by the Scottish Executive today (see below). If the order receives royal
assent it will make it an offence to manufacture, sell, import or
hire disguised knives. Under existing legislation it will be an
offence to possess these items in public also.
3. The Order defines disguised knives as: 'A disguised knife, that is
any knife which has a concealed blade or concealed sharp point, and
is designed to appear to be an every day object of a kind commonly
carried on the person or in a handbag, briefcase or other hand
luggage (such as a comb, brush, writing instrument, cigarette
lighter, key or lipstick or telephone.)
Scottish Executive statement:
The sale, manufacture and import of disguised weapons - such as lipstick knives, comb knives and ink-pen knives - will become an offence following an amendment to the Criminal Justice Act 1988, approved by the Scottish parliament today.
Disguised knives pose a particular threat to airline security because they are easy to carry and to conceal. Following the attacks of September 11, extending the order to cover disguised knives is a priority.
The amendment will add to the list of 14 weapons already banned under the Criminal Justice Act 1988 (Offensive Weapons) Order, which includes swordsticks, push daggers and butterfly knives.
Legislation already prohibits carrying offensive weapons and having articles with a blade or point in a public place, but disguised knives which are designed to appear to bean everyday object are currently freely available for purchase by the public.
Justice minister Jim Wallace said:
'A large number of these weapons are easily available, serving no legitimate purpose and it is clearly undesirable that they are readily available for people to buy.
'Public safety is of the utmost importance. Following the attacks of September 11 there was a clear priority to improve airline security. By legislating to ban the sale and purchase of these weapons, public safety will be improved not only at airports but also at places such as night clubs, football grounds and courts, where screening facilities are in place but may presently fail to detect such items.
'The purpose of this amendment is to ban the manufacture, sale or import of any disguised knives. The design of disguised knives, which are bladed or sharply pointed weapons deliberately designed to look like innocent everyday items, prevents ready detection by airport x-ray scanners.'
The penalty for carrying such weapons is a six month prison sentence or a fine. The new offence is expected to come into effect tomorrow.