2. Content of the 2019 Act
The 2019 Act includes new legislative measures to control the sale of knives and corrosive products, and it introduces new offences relating to their possession and use.
The 2019 Act:
- creates a new criminal offence of selling a corrosive product to a person under the age of 18. The substances and concentration levels that constitute corrosive products for this purpose are set out in Schedule 1 of the 2019 Act.
- creates a new criminal offence of possessing a corrosive substance in a public place. There is a defence available for this offence where the person can prove that they had a reasonable excuse or lawful authority for having the corrosive substance with them.
- extends the range of bladed articles to which the existing offence in section 141A of the Criminal Justice Act 1988 ("the 1988 Act") of selling or letting on hire bladed articles to under 18s applies and also provides defences that can apply to the offence under section 141A of the 1988 Act in the case of remote sales (e.g. online, over the telephone or by post).
- creates new criminal offences for a seller to deliver, or arrange the delivery of, 'bladed products' to residential premises or to lockers and for a delivery company to deliver 'bladed products', sold by UK based sellers, to an under 18 at residential premises when 'bladed products' are sold remotely. It also provides defences to these offences that can apply to the seller and the delivery company. 'Bladed product' is a new term introduced in the 2019 Act and is intended to cover a smaller subset of bladed articles. 'Bladed products' are defined as articles which are or have a blade and which are capable of causing serious injury to a person involving cutting that person's skin.
- creates a new criminal offence for delivery companies where they deliver a bladed article on behalf of a seller outside the UK to a person under the age of 18. There are defences to this offence where the delivery company takes all reasonable precautions and exercises all due diligence to avoid delivering the bladed article into the hands of a person under 18.
- updates the definition of a "flick knife" to include those where the mechanism is not within the handle. It also prohibits the possession of flick knives and gravity knives in private. The sale, importation, manufacture, supply and possession in public is already prohibited.
- amends existing legislation in respect of offensive weapons to make it a criminal offence to possess in private certain offensive weapons, such as knuckledusters, cyclone knives and death stars. The sale, importation, manufacture, supply and possession in public of these items is already prohibited.
In order to aid the reader, this guidance is formatted to include links to the UK Government guidance in line with the order of the legislative provisions in the 2019 Act. This means that the reader can understand the provisions in the 2019 Act that extend to Scotland through use of this guidance document.
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