Updates to the Offensive Weapons Act 2019
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Surrey Police took part in a National Surrender Scheme for certain types of firearms and offensive weapons, which was held from the 10th December 2020 and ended on the 9th March 2021.
This scheme was completed prior to a change in legislation to adopt the Offensive Weapons Act 2019, a number of specific types of weapons, including rapid firing rifles and certain types of knife and baton were able to be surrendered for reimbursement where they were legally held and where appropriate, registered.
During the three-month period, a total of 11967 items were surrendered across both Surrey and Sussex, with a value of £373,080. Of this £215,261 was within Surrey and £157,818 in Sussex.
Firearms and their ancillary equipment accounted for the bulk of the high value surrenders with 76 Firearms to a value of £186,025 and 5343 ancillaries to a value of £106,359 being surrendered. This can be broken down to 47 weapons in Surrey and 29 in Sussex and 4828 ancillaries in Surrey, 515 in Sussex. The large variance is explained by a significant surrender of magazines and ammunition within Surrey.
The surrender of offensive weapons had a slower take up, however several dealers surrendered weapons during the period. Of the total of 6548 weapons surrendered, 1288 to a value of £6,009 were surrendered in Surrey and 5260 to a value of £74,686 were surrendered in Sussex. The variance is accounted for, similarly to Firearms, by way of a dealer surrendering a large quantity of items in Sussex.
As a result of one of the Firearms surrenders in North Surrey, the Firearms Licensing Team are currently carrying out a review into whether the weapon was legally held.
Amy Buffoni said “The National Surrender Scheme was a great success in Surrey as other 6000 items were surrendered in just 3 months, with a total street value of over £200,000. As a Force, we are committed to ensuring that the streets of Surrey remain safe for all that live here and welcome the changes that have been introduced by the Offensive Weapons Act 2019. These measures will make it easier to remove dangerous weapons off the streets in Surrey, which will in turn keep our communities and people feeling safe.”
Offensive Weapons Act 2019
Changes to legislation brought about by the Offensive Weapons Act 2019 mean that from today (July 14) it is now an offence to possess certain items such as knuckledusters, throwing stars and zombie knives, even in private.
Other sections of the act that will commence 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.
The rest of the act will commence later in the year and will bring in new provisions for the control of goods sold online, as well as placing responsibility onto delivery companies to conduct age verification at delivery stage. These are important developments that will help us to address the growing issue of online sale of knives.
Police and partners will be working to educate the public and the business community regarding these changes in legislation. The introduction of such measures will provide us with further means to help deter young people from becoming involved in knife possession and knife crime.
National Police Chiefs' Council 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.”
Note to editors:
In England and Wales, a private place is defined as a place other than:
- a public place
- school premises
- further education premises, or
- a prison
A project led and delivered by the NPCC Knife Crime portfolio (funded by Home Office Surge Funding for violence reduction) has created an educational package to educate the public, retailers, couriers and the wider business community about what these changes mean for them.