Sentencing Council
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Sentencing guidelines for underage sale of knives published

The Sentencing Council has published two new guidelines for sentencing retailers convicted of selling knives to children under 18. The new guidelines come into effect on 1 April 2023.

The two guidelines – one for sentencing organisations and one for individuals – apply to offenders who fail to ensure that adequate safeguards are in place to prevent the sale of knives to under 18s either in store or online.

The guidelines cover one offence: selling knives etc to persons under the age of 18 contrary to s.141A of the Criminal Justice Act 1988. The offence carries a maximum of six months’ imprisonment for individual offenders and an unlimited fine for organisations, and can be dealt with only in magistrates’ courts.

The Council does not expect sentences to change overall for most offenders under the new guidelines but sentences may be higher for large organisations.

We have also published today the Council’s response to the consultation we ran on these guidelines between June and August last year.

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