1. What is the surrender and compensation scheme for certain offensive weapons?
The surrender and compensation scheme relates to the criminalisation of possession of certain weapons in private places.
Section 141 of the Criminal Justice Act 1988 ("the 1988 Act") criminalises a person who manufactures, sells or hires or offers for sale or hire, exposes or has in their possession for the purpose of sale or hire, or lends or gives to any other person any of the weapons listed under the Criminal Justice Act 1988 (Offensive Weapons) (Scotland) Order 2005 ("the 2005 Order"). It is also an offence to possess any offensive weapon' in a public place under section 47 of the Criminal Law Consolidation (Scotland) Act 1995. Section 1 of the Restriction of Offensive Weapons Act 1959 ("the 1959 Act") makes it an offence to manufacture, sell or hire, offer for sale or hire, expose or possess for the purpose of sale or hire, lend or give to another person or import flick knives and gravity knives.
The Offensive Weapons Act 2019 ("the 2019 Act") includes new legislative measures to control the sale of knives and corrosive substances and introduces new offences relating to their possession and use.
Section 43 of the 2019 Act amends the definition of flick knife in section 1 of the 1959 Act to include knives that can be opened through a mechanism not in the handle itself. This includes any knife that opens automatically from a closed position, or partially opened position, to a fully opened position by means of any manual pressure that is applied to a button, spring or other device which is contained either within the knife or is attached to the knife. Section 44 of the 2019 Act amends the 1959 Act further to prohibit the possession of any knife under section 1 of that Act (i.e. a flick knife or gravity knife).
Section 46 of the 2019 Act amends section 141 of the 1988 Act to make it an offence to possess on domestic premises in Scotland the weapons set out in the 2005 Order.
If you currently lawfully own or possess any of these items under the 2005 Order (as set out in Annex A) you will not be permitted to keep them once measures in Part 4 of the 2019 Act are commenced. Therefore, you will be required to surrender the item(s) to the police.
Section 47 of the 2019 Act (as it applies to England and Wales) amends the weapons listed in their equivalent of the 2005 Order (i.e. the Criminal Justice Act 1988 (Offensive Weapons) Order 1988) to include 'spiral/cyclone knives' and also 'zombie knives'.
However, section 47 of the 2019 Act (as it applies to Scotland) amends the weapons listed in the 2005 Order to include a type of weapon which is commonly known as a 'spiral/cyclone knife' only. Therefore, as a result of this amendment, a spiral/cyclone knife will be part of the general restrictions on the supply, sale, importation etc. of such weapons and it will also mean it will be a criminal offence to possess such a weapon on domestic premises in Scotland by virtue of the 2019 Act. Therefore, you will be required to surrender the item(s) to the police and such a knife is included in this surrender and compensation scheme.
As 'zombie knives' are not included in the section 47 amendments (as it applies to Scotland) this needed to be rectified. Therefore a further amendment to the criminal law was required to achieve this policy. The Criminal Justice Act 1988 (Offensive Weapons) (Amendment, Surrender and Compensation) (Scotland) Order 2022 ("the 2022 Order") makes this amendment to the criminal law. The purpose of this Order is to ensure a zombie knife is treated in the same way as a 'spiral/cyclone knife' and all other offensive weapons set out under the 2005 Order when Part 4 of the 2019 Act is commenced in Scotland. Therefore, it ensures you will also be required to surrender such a knife to the police and that it is included in this surrender and compensation scheme.
The effect of the offence is that it will become illegal to possess those items unless you have a lawful defence. Further information on lawful defences can be found at under 'Defences' at Annex A.
As mentioned above, a summary of the items that will be subject to general prohibition on their possession and use are listed in Annex A.
The surrender and compensation scheme allows you to claim compensation for items surrendered. This is only if you meet the eligibility criteria and surrender and make a claim in line with:
- the arrangements set out in this guidance,
- the Surrender of Offensive Weapons (Compensation) (Scotland) Regulations 2022, and
- the Criminal Justice Act 1988 (Offensive Weapons) (Amendment, Surrender and Compensation) (Scotland) Order 2022.
The total value of a claim cannot be less than £30. If you are the owner of one of the affected items, it is your responsibility to ensure that you have transported it safely to the designated police station surrendered it to the police in good time and, if seeking financial compensation, submitted your claim at the same time as surrendering your item(s). Further details on how to surrender your item safely is set out in section 4 of this guidance. However, if you are still unsure about how best to transport your item safely you should contact your local designated police station for further advice.
It will not be possible to seek compensation at any time after you have surrendered your item, or at any time after the surrender and compensation scheme closes.
The scheme will start on 01/07/2022 and close on 30/09/2022.
1.1 Which items will become prohibited?
The items that will be subject to general prohibition by virtue of the 2019 Act are listed in Annex A.
1.2 Will you have to surrender your item(s)?
Once the measures in Part 4 of the 2019 Act prohibiting possession of the items listed in Annex A come in to force, it will be an offence to possess them, aside from in a few specific circumstances, as mentioned in Annex A.
However, before they are prohibited, the 2019 Act and the 2022 Order allows for a person in possession of these items to surrender them to the police. It should be noted, in order to claim compensation, the person surrendering the item(s) to the police must be the owner of the item(s). This guidance sets out how to surrender the item(s) to the police in order to claim compensation.
Compensation can only be claimed if the item(s) are surrendered as part of this scheme.
1.3 What is the surrender period?
This is the three-month period from 1 July 2022 to 30 September 2022 during which you will be able to surrender your knife or other offensive weapon to the police if you are the legal owner of it and it is covered by the scheme. Compensation can only be claimed if you surrender your item(s) during the surrender period and submit a claim for compensation at the same time.
1.4 When will the surrender period start and end?
The surrender period will start on 1 July 2022 and end on 30 September 2022.
1.5 What to do if you own a knife or other offensive weapon.
If you are the legal owner of one of the knives or other offensive weapons in the list at Annex A, you will be able to surrender this item to the police at a designated police station and claim compensation for it by completing the claim form.
You must transport your item safely according to the guidance below. You can find out your nearest designated police station by checking the mygov.scot web site or the Police Scotland web site.
In order to claim compensation, you will need to either;
- download the 'Surrender and Compensation Scheme Claim Form' from mygov.scot, or
- request a copy of the form by e-mailing the Criminal Law, Practice & Licensing Unit at OWACompensationSchemeEnquiries@gov.scot or
- (exceptionally if unable to print a copy) request a copy of the form in writing to the Criminal Law, Practice & Licensing Unit, Criminal Justice Division, Room GW14, St Andrew's House, Edinburgh, EH1 3DG
and complete the form and hand it over to the police when you surrender the item(s). The form will not be provided to you at police stations.
A 'Values List' for each item set out under Annex A has been published on the mygov.scot web page and at Annex B to this guidance. This Values List is based on an assessment of the estimated value of the relevant weapons using information from experts.
In exceptional circumstances, consideration will be given to assessing whether compensation more than the listed value will be provided. If you consider exceptional circumstances do arise and are seeking compensation more than that indicated in the 'Values List' for each or some of the item(s), you will need to take supporting evidence of the value of those item(s) with you in addition to the completed claim form when you surrender your item(s) to the police. Supporting evidence of a valuation of an item being surrendered may include:
- a) a valuation from an auction house,
- b) evidence of the price paid for the purchase of the item and the date of purchase, or
- c) published evidence of the value of the item.
Failure to do so may result in a delay in obtaining compensation, receiving compensation which equates to the list value only or even no compensation being awarded at all for those items.
1.6 What happens if you do not surrender an item during the surrender period?
Once the surrender period comes to an end on 30 September 2022, the Scottish Government will commence at the end of the year the new offence criminalising the possession of the relevant items in private places under Part 4 of the 2019 Act with the effect it will be illegal to own such items as set out in Annex A. If you are still in possession of one of these items at this point, and you do not have a lawful defence to possess it, you will be committing a criminal offence. It is therefore important if you wish to get rid of the weapon(s) prior to the change in law to participate in the surrender and compensation scheme.
1.7 How to request a surrender and compensation claim form if you cannot print one from a version accessed at mygov.scot.
As mentioned above, if you are unable to download and print the claim form you can:
- request a copy is posted to you by sending an email request to OWACompensationSchemeEnquiries@gov.scot, or
- by writing to the Criminal Law, Practice & Licensing Unit, Criminal Justice Division, Room GW14, St Andrew's House, Edinburgh, EH1 3DG.
If you are requesting a form to be sent to you by the Scottish Government, you will need to provide the address to which you would like the form posted. You will also need to ensure that you allow enough time to receive and complete the form, and to attend a designated police station to surrender your item(s) and claim compensation before the surrender period comes to an end.
Wherever possible, you are encouraged to print off the form yourself at home or at some other suitable location. However, a hard copy can be requested if you are unable to do this.
1.8 Do you need to complete a surrender and compensation scheme claim form if you are not seeking compensation?
No. You only need to complete the claim form if you are claiming compensation for the eligible item(s) you are surrendering. If you are only surrendering your weapon, this can be done at a designated police station without any form requiring to be completed.
1.9 What to do if you have any special requirements or accessibility needs.
If you have any special requirements or accessibility needs that might impact your ability to surrender your item(s) you should call 101 to discuss this and make any suitable arrangements.
1.10 What to do if you think your knife or offensive weapon has historic value
If you are the owner of a knife, or offensive weapon in the list at Annex A and you consider that the item might be of interest to a museum, you may choose to seek to transfer the item to a museum, instead of surrendering it to Police Scotland. You would need to make contact with a relevant museum and seek to make arrangements to transfer the item if appropriate. Museums will handle such matters in line with their collections development policies. It is the owner's decision and responsibility to make such arrangements; any transfers to museums would not fall within scope of this Surrender and Compensation scheme and as such, the Scottish Government and Police Scotland cannot advise on any arrangements or provide compensation for any such transfers.
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