West Yorkshire Police back new laws restricting sale of weapons to young people

New laws making it harder for young people to buy dangerous weapons and chemicals have been welcomed by West Yorkshire Police knife crime reduction officers.

By Leanne Clarke
Friday, 8th April 2022, 12:07 pm
Updated Friday, 8th April 2022, 12:08 pm
New laws making it harder for young people to buy dangerous weapons and chemicals have been welcomed by West Yorkshire Police knife crime reduction officers.
New laws making it harder for young people to buy dangerous weapons and chemicals have been welcomed by West Yorkshire Police knife crime reduction officers.

The force’s Operation Jemlock team has said it will work with partners and retailers to enforce new powers launched under the Offensive Weapons Act to clamp down on the sale of items to young people which could be used as weapons.

Under Offensive Weapons Act powers which became law on April 6, retailers and couriers will now be legally obliged to do more to ensure that knives, corrosives and other offensive weapons are not sold or delivered to those under the age of 18.

The new restrictions will also make it an offence to possess a corrosive substance in a public place.

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The move comes after the first part of the Act came into force last year, banning the possession of certain dangerous items in private, including knuckle dusters and throwing stars.

Police and partners will be working to educate the public and the business community regarding the changes in legislation regarding the latest changes brought in by the act.

They include legislation prohibiting the sale of corrosive products to anyone under the age of 18, prohibiting the delivery of corrosive products to residential premises and making it a criminal offence to possess a corrosive substance in a public place.

The act also places a responsibility on delivery companies to conduct age checks when delivering knives ordered online by customers, and introduces minimum custodial sentences for those convicted of a second or subsequent possession offence.

Chief Inspector James Kitchen, force lead for Operation Jemlock, said: “These new measures are intended to make it much tougher for young people to get access to dangerous weapons, and are very welcome.

“They will provide us with further means to help deter young people from becoming involved in knife possession and knife crime, and complement the work already ongoing to educate young people about the dangers of carrying knives.

“They also complement work we have been carrying out with the UK Borders Agency so far this year to clamp down on the purchase of illegal weapons online."

He added: “We will be working with partners and retailers to provide education about the changes in legislation, but frankly, businesses should already not knowingly be selling knives and dangerous items to juveniles.

“Reducing the availability of these items is a key part of our ongoing work to make West Yorkshire safer.”