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Knife Crime in England and Wales reaches a Record High

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Knife crime and crimes involving offensive weapons are on the rise with the highest number of convictions in a decade!

How many convictions for knife offences were recorded in 2019?

There were 14,135 offences of knife possession in 2019 – this Is the highest number since the data was first compiled in 2007. Added to offences for Possession of Offensive weapons (other than knives) the total increased to 22,300 – this is the highest since 2009.

What sentence will I get for possession of a knife or other offensive weapon?

38% of these offences resulted in an immediate custodial sentence and the average length of sentence rose from 6 to 8 months.

The Magistrates court can impose a prison sentence of up to 6 months.

The Crown court can impose a prison sentence of up to 4 years.  

What sentence will I get if I have a previous conviction for knife crime?

The minimum sentence for a second, or repeated, offence of possession of a knife is 6 months and the court must impose this unless it is unjust to do so.

I had a good reason for having a knife on me. Do I have a defence to possession of a knife or other offensive weapon?

There are defences available for being in possession of a knife or other offensive weapon.

The defence of ‘Lawful Authority’ or ‘reasonable excuse’ is available. The defence must satisfy a generally reasonable explanation for having the offensive weapon.

  • You had "good reason or lawful authority" for having the bladed or pointed article; or
  • You had the article for use at work; or
  • You had the article for religious reasons; or
  • You had the article as part of a national costume

The defence of ‘self-defence’ is not a defence for generally carrying around an offensive weapon.

Who can help me if I am charged with being in possession of an offensive weapon?

At Johnson Astills our crime team regularly deal with offences of alleged knife crime. Should you or anyone you know need help in relation to being in possession of an offensive weapon or you would like more information regarding the defences available then please contact the Crime Team at Johnson Astills on crimeteam@johnsonastills.com or call our Leicester office on 0116 2554855 or our Loughborough Office on 01509 610312.