With the recent rise in violent knife crime in London – prevalent across the capital and extensively covered across the media – there is a new focus on deterrent sentences to prevent knife possession.
Metropolitan Police data shows that overall crime in London has increased by 6.4% year on year, with knife crime offences increasing by 21.2% and knife crime with injury offences increasing by 5.7%, leading the Sentencing Council to issue new guidelines relating to knife crime offences, effective from 1st June 2018.
Knife crime offences – The Sentencing Council
Knife crime and bladed article offences classified under the new Sentencing Council guidelines include:
- Possession of an offensive weapon in a public place
- Possession of an article with a blade or point in a public place
- Possession of an offensive weapon on school premises
- Possession of an article with a blade or point on school premises
- Unauthorised possession of a knife or offensive weapon in prison
- Threatening with an offensive weapon in a public place
- Threatening with an article with a blade or point in a public place
- Threatening with an article with a blade or point on school premises
- Threatening with an offensive weapon on school premises
Based on the new Sentencing Council guidelines, the courts are imposing harsher and longer sentences for those convicted or pleading guilty to offences involving knives or other offensive weapons making specialist legal advice and representation vital.
Which knives are illegal in the UK?
Knives which are prohibited under UK law – with no exceptions – include:
- Flick knives – also known as switchblades
- Disguised knives – where a blade is hidden inside an item such as a belt
- Butterfly knives – where a handle splits in two to reveal a hidden blade
- Sword sticks
- Samurai swords – unless the item is purely decorative or an antique
Swiss army knives are permitted in the UK, providing the blade measures less than 7.6cm and the blade does not lock.
Sentencing for knife crime offences in London
Knife crime is classified as a criminal offence in contravention of the Prevention of Crime Act 1953 and the Criminal Justice Act 1988.
If you have been accused of a knife crime – including possession of a bladed article or being found in possession of an offensive weapon – it is crucial to seek expert legal advice as soon as you are able to do so.
If you are convicted of a criminal offence involving a knife or bladed article, the sentencing process can be complicated and the court has a very wide range of options and sentences depending various factors.
The range extends from:
- A low-level community order
- A maximum of 4 years’ imprisonment, plus a fine
Sentencing will depend on the severity of the individual offence, together with any mitigating or aggravating factors involved.
Expert legal advice from solicitors and lawyers that know how to identify the key points is vital to ensure the best outcome is achieved.
Knife crimes including possession of a bladed article are triable either way, meaning they can be heard in either the magistrates’ court or the crown court.
Why choose Lawtons?
We are highly experienced in defending knife crime offences in London and all round the UK. We have considerable expertise in cases of knife crime, bladed articles and the updated legislation and sentencing guidelines relating to these offences and we have successfully represented many clients in cases of knife crime in London.
We can provide personalised legal advice and assistance for any criminal charges that have been made against you.
We provide 24-hour legal representation, including assistance at police stations across London. We can also provide legal advice over the phone or in person at our London office (by appointment only.)
If you or a family member has been detained by the police in relation to a knife crime, contact an expert criminal defence solicitor to represent you before a police interview and before any formal questioning takes place. Seek expert legal representation from a criminal defence lawyer as soon as you are able to obtain the best possible outcome for your case.
If you are asked to attend a police station in London on a voluntary interview basis, or you are being held on police bail, or released under investigation we can offer expert legal assistance and help to guide you through the procedure. Specialist criminal defence representation is advised at all times.
We can also represent you in court, with Lawtons’ team of Knife crime solicitors in London regularly representing and defending clients in criminal cases at magistrates’ courts and crown courts across London.
Need urgent assistance from a knife crime solicitor in London?
Sentencing for knife crime is complex and our experienced knife crime solicitors in London will work with you to obtain the best possible outcome in your individual case. If you or a member of your family are in urgent need of legal assistance or advice from expert London knife crime solicitors please get in touch with us:
Lawtons Criminal Law Solicitors – London
330 High Holborn
Telephone: 0203 553 5741
Find our London office on Google Maps.