Zombie knives and machetes could be banned by closing loopholes | UK News
Machetes and so-called “zombie knives” could be banned in England and Wales as part of government plans to fill a loophole that makes it impossible for police to confiscate them from criminals’ homes.
Certain types of blades that “look menacing” and are “with intent to threaten” are not currently banned but would be banned under the measures, the Home Office said.
So-called zombie knives were first banned in 2016, but manufacturers have since sidestepped the law by changing the design and renaming the large serrated blades “hunting” or “fantasy” knives.
While some machetes and similar knives may have “legitimate uses” such as For example, when gardening, “criminals buy, sell and use larger-bladed objects as weapons to intimidate others and cause serious harm,” the Home Office warned.
Home Secretary Suella Braverman said: “The thugs who wield these deadly knives aim to terrorize their victims and the public, and all too often commit horrific or deadly attacks. They are encouraged by the cowardly notion that wielding these blades inflates their own status and respect.
“It can not go on like this. These plans aim to give police greater powers to confiscate and destroy these guns and impose tougher penalties on criminals who sell them, keep them off our streets and increase community security.”
Under current law, it is illegal to carry machetes and other large knives in public, but they can be kept at home, leaving police officers powerless to confiscate them even if they believe they could be used in future violent crimes.
The government is also considering introducing a new criminal offense for carrying a knife with intent to cause harm or injury.
It stressed that any changes would “carefully define” which knives would be banned.
Patrick Green, chief executive of the Ben Kinsella Trust, a knife crime charity set up in north London in 2008 after the fatal stabbing of the 16-year-old, welcomed the plans, saying: “These guns have no legitimate purpose and are only intended to glorify violence and intimidate others.
“They are often used by gangs and criminals to cause serious harm and create fear on our streets. By getting them off the streets, we reduce the risk of serious violence and save lives.”
The announcement comes as four police forces begin testing powers of civil courts, known as Serious Violence Reduction Orders, which allow officers to stop, arrest and arrest offenders previously convicted of knife or assault weapons offenses, starting Wednesday to browse.
Yvette Cooper, the shadow home secretary, said such machetes and zombie knives should have been banned “years ago”.
“Knife crime is devastating lives and tearing communities apart, and the government must do everything it can to prevent it. Unfortunately the Conservatives have relented and are only launching a consultation,” said the Labor MP.
Emadh Miah, 18, faces life imprisonment when he is sentenced next week after murdering Ghulam Sadiq, whom he assaulted and stabbed to death near his home in Leytonstone, east London, in August last year.
Metropolitan Police Detective Chief Inspector Linda Bradley said: “I cannot help but consider that large knives and machetes sold online are easily misused and regrettably continue to pose a risk to the public.”
Official figures show that knife crime has increased after a sharp drop during the Covid pandemic.
Almost 40 per cent of all murders in England and Wales are committed with a knife or bladed weapon, although the type of blade used to commit the murders is not specified.
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