UK ban on home delivery of knives bought online (Offensive Weapons Act) - Update

UK home delivery of knives

Nov 2019

A new law was proposed in 2017 by the then Home Secretary Amber Rudd banning home delivery of knives bought online. For TOG and other British knife makers and retailers, this had the potential to make our businesses unviable.

In July 2017 I wrote to my local MP Liam Fox who put my objections forward. We received a letter back from Amber Rudd. The letter acknowledged the issues but after the consultation, the proposed law would have still been a disaster for many businesses like ours. Little changed.

In May 2019, the Offensive Weapons Bill received Royal Assent and is now known as the Offensive Weapons Act.

Another consultation was run from August to October 2019, the feedback from which is apparently being analysed. As things stand, there is some hope - the following being taken from the Aug 2019 Statutory Guidance:

“There are defences available to the seller, under section 40 of the Act, including where the company took all reasonable precautions and exercised all due diligence to prevent the item being delivered to an under 18. The effect of this is that where a seller is sure that the bladed product will not be handed to an under 18, they can deliver it to a residential premises. Where no such arrangements are in place, the item will have to be collected in person at a collection point.”

They have also adopted a suggestion made by myself (I’m sure I wasn’t the only one):

“Under section 39 of the Act, it is an offence for a delivery company to deliver bladed products, sold by UK based sellers, to an under 18 at a residential premises or to a locker.”

At TOG we are working on implementing Age Verification at point of purchase, although this is proving technically difficult. We have been sending bladed products out with Age Verification on Delivery for a couple of years now. The appropriate parcels are marked as bladed products and with the age restriction.

We are hoping that all this means we will be able to continue business as normal but with a General Election looming it’s all about as clear as Brexit.

Bert Beagley-Brown



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