Wired-GOV Newswire (news from other organisations)
LGA - Ban on 'zombie' knives urgently needed, say councils
The Local Government Association (LGA) is calling for sales of the horror-film inspired weapons – advertised as collector items but used by criminal gangs - to be outlawed and an industry-backed code of practice launched to stop the irresponsible advertising of all knives.
The blades, which are up to two foot in length and have names such as Head Splitter and Apocalypse Head Decapitator, can be legally bought from UK-based websites and delivered straight to people's homes.
New figures show overall knife crime in England and Wales rose by 9 per cent last year, while offences for possessing a blade increased by 15 per cent. London recorded a seven-year high in knife crime after 19 people were killed by knives last year.
Other areas, such as Greater Manchester and the West Midlands, have seen possession of weapon offences, including knives, rise by 21 and 16 per cent, respectively.
The LGA, which represents councils in England and Wales, is calling on government to categorise zombie-style knives and add them to the list of weapons already banned under the Knives Act such as flick knives, sword sticks and weapons associated with martial arts.
An industry-backed code of practice on the naming, promotion and packaging of all knives also needs to be created - similar to that of the alcoholic drinks industry - which would promote the responsible sale of knives. Under current legislation it is legal to sell zombie-style knives in Britain to anyone aged over 18 and keep them in a private residence but they cannot be legally carried in public.
But teenagers are buying the knives online and they are being used in horrific crimes. In November last year a 15-year-old schoolboy was stabbed twice with "very large knives" outside a London primary school, with one blade passing through both sides of his body.
Cllr Simon Blackburn, Chair of the LGA's Safer and Stronger Communities Board, said:
"Irresponsible online retailers are playing with fire by unwittingly feeding a new knife trend which could lead to tragedy.
"These so-called zombie knives have only one lethal purpose – to threaten, injure or kill someone. Yet under current laws they can be ordered with a couple of clicks online and kept in people's homes. This only serves to increase the number of lethal blades in society and flies in the face of anti-knife crime policy.
"With knife crime rising, businesses should frankly think about their wider responsibilities and voluntarily withdraw from sale these deadly weapons which have no other purpose than to cause harm. If they don't, then they need to be outlawed.
"A code of practice – similar to those set up by the drinks industry – should be established to ensure retailers stop glamourising knives. Certain knives have a practical use in the home and garden, but these zombie knives are being recklessly marketed as ‘collectables' with no legitimate usage. They need to be banned as soon as possible to help safeguard our communities."
While different types of knives are not recorded in official crime figures, police say zombie-style knives are becoming more common, with criminal gangs brandishing them in online videos.
Police found a two-foot ‘Apocalypse Head Decapitator' and another zombie-style knife in London last summer. It is thought that many similar knives have been seized since then but not publicised for fear of encouraging the knife trend.
Specific types of knife and other weaponry can be banned under secondary legislation to the Knives Act. Bans are already in place on the sale of at least 13 different types of blade.
Several councils have set up local charters for knife retailers to promote responsible trading and prevent illegal underage sales of knives to young people.
Notes to editor
- According to the Office of National Statistics, there was a nine per cent rise in offences involving knives or sharp instruments in England and Wales in the year up to September 2015, while possession of an article with blade or point increased by 15 per cent during this period
- In the year up to September 2015 possession of weapon offences in Greater Manchester and the West Midlands rose by 21 and 16 per cent, respectively.
- It is a criminal offence to possess a knife in public without good reason, and if a person is convicted a second time they face a minimum mandatory custodial sentence. The maximum penalty for an adult carrying a knife is four years in prison and a fine of £5,000.
Under the 1997 Knives Act, it is illegal to:
- sell a knife to anyone under 18 (16 to 18 year olds in Scotland can buy cutlery and kitchen knives) unless it's a knife with a folding blade 3 inches long or less, e.g. a Swiss Army knife
- carry a knife in public without good reason - unless it's a knife with a folding blade 3 inches long or less
- carry, buy or sell any type of banned knife
- use any knife in a threatening way
- Lock knives (knives with blades that can be locked when unfolded) are not folding knives, and are illegal to carry in public without good reason.
- For full details of the 1997 Knives Act and banned knives visit www.gov.uk/buying-carrying-knives
Latest News from
Wired-GOV Newswire (news from other organisations)
CBI - John Edwards speaks at TechUK Digital Ethics Summit 202307/12/2023 10:25:00
John Edwards speaks at TechUK Digital Ethics Summit 2023
NHS Confederation responds to announcement of fresh wave of junior doctor strikes06/12/2023 14:25:00
Matthew Taylor said the new strikes will be a disappointing blow to NHS leaders.
NHS Confederation - Plans to introduce the most significant public health intervention in a generation and phase out smoking are progressing at pace, as the government’s consultation closes today.06/12/2023 13:25:00
Welsh NHS Confederation director Darren Hughes responds to Health Inspectorate Wales' Annual Report.
LGA - Section 114 fear for almost 1 in 5 council leaders and chief executives after cashless Autumn Statement06/12/2023 11:25:00
Almost one in five council leaders and chief executives in England surveyed by the Local Government Association think it is very or fairly likely that their chief finance officer will need to issue a Section 114 notice this year or next due to a lack of funding to keep key services running.
CBI responds to Government’s latest immigration proposals05/12/2023 16:05:00
CBI yesterday responded to Government’s latest immigration proposals.
UK Space Agency: COP28: UK climate satellite contracts05/12/2023 12:15:00
Two space companies have been awarded major contracts to work on a UK-led climate satellite mission, during the COP28 climate conference in Dubai, UAE.
Companies House: File your accounts early this December to avoid a penalty04/12/2023 16:05:00
All limited companies, whether they trade or not, must deliver accounts to Companies House each year.
Services cost pressures ease significantly but business sentiment deteriorates04/12/2023 12:15:00
Sentiment within the service sector deteriorated over the quarter to November, against a background of falling business volumes and profitability, highlighting a continuation of difficult conditions across the sector – according to the CBI’s quarterly service sector survey.
LGA - Councils need support and funding for adult social care assurance process04/12/2023 10:05:00
Councils need support and funding for adult social care assurance process
Despite progress, adolescent girls continue to bear the brunt of the HIV epidemic with 98,000 new infections in 2022 – UNICEF04/12/2023 09:05:00
Nearly 98,000 adolescent girls aged 10-19 were infected with HIV in 2022 – or 1,900 new infections every week – according to UNICEF’s latest Global Snapshot on Children with HIV and AIDS, released ahead of World AIDS Day.