Recent debate on EM has had me thinking with regard the subject of carrying sub 3" non locking pocket knives. We've since been approached by forum members asking us which they should use as their benchmark.I'm uncomfortable with the possibility that word of law & it's inference can be confused as the consequences may be severe.
Section 139, subsection's 2 & 3:
139 Offence of having article with blade or point in public place.
(2)Subject to subsection (3) below, this section applies to any article which has a blade or is sharply pointed except a folding pocketknife.
(3)This section applies to a folding pocketknife if the cutting edge of its blade exceeds 3 inches.
The above is the correct worded version in law.
The link I refer to is this one that is updated by the Home office.
Basic laws on knives. It is illegal to:
Sell a knife to anyone under 18 (16 to 18 year olds in Scotland can buy cutlery and kitchen knives) unless it’s a knife with a folding blade 3 inches long (7.62 cm) or less, eg a Swiss Army knife.
Carry a knife in public without good reason - unless it’s a knife with a folding blade 3 inches long (7.62 cm) or less
The 2 examples cited above are potentially confusing. EM would wish to put our thoughts to the 2 versions above for the following reasons.
1. EM is a Public Forum. Anyone can see what we contribute here !
2. Police officers on the street could be ignorant of the detail of law on knives but they may argue that Joe Public are pretty ignorant of most of the other laws they have to enforce. In plain terms, we feel it far less likely that casual carry of a non locking pocket knife with a blade of 3" or 76.2mm will get you in trouble than a knife with a cutting edge of 3" or 76.2mm.
3. I'm not a legal man but in plain terms, I see "Intent", "wording", & "spirit of the law". "Intent "is the purpose of the law introduced f. The "wording" of that law may not be robust & allow for interpretation, this leads to the "spirit of the law" being stretched, be it progress in technology or otherwise.
The Authorities eventually become aware of this. They may attempt to enforce "Intent" if or when "wording" fails. For example our executive Border & Customs Agency are actively engaging in this thinking with respect to knives imho. Eventually, someone will either test case & fail setting the precedent in law, or they will revisit the knife laws in entirety as is currently underway with the 1968 Firearms act & revisions.
In light of the above & in keeping with the good intent of this Forum, we suggest that it's better to let others test the law re : blade length versus cutting edge. That's not going to be any of us !
Most knife makers & manufacturers making UK legal carry non locking pocket knives all do so where their blades do not exceed 76,2mm or 3".
I see this as reasonable guidance to those having a use for a non lock every day carry pocket knife & within the spirit of the law.
The scenario of suggesting the cutting edge be no more than 76.2mm could easily be distorted. You could have a blade with 7 x 10mm cutting edges interspersed by 5mm gaps making the 10mm edges into toothed serrations followed by a 5mm pointed tip ! The total length of blade could be 105mm long & even longer !
The wording of the law may not be your friend in this case. The "intent" is clear in my non legal mind & that you are best to stay within the "spirit of the law" To that end, a non locking pocket knife is one which has a blade of 3" or 76.2mm or less.
My apologies for the Waffle.
Bruce will be along shortly to tweak speelings & Grammer jew ot my yewsless browser, poor eyesight & small screen...