Offensive Weapons Bill

Written evidence submitted by Emma Connell (OWB116)

I am emailing regarding the proposed changes to the offensive weapons bill, specifically Article 15 as repeated below:

Delivery of bladed products to residential premises etc

(1) This section applies if -

(a) A person ("the seller") sells a bladed product to another person ("the buyer"), and

(b) the seller and the buyer are not in each other’s presence at the time of the sale

(2) The seller commits an offence if, for the purposes of supplying the bladed product to the buyer, the seller delivers the bladed product, or arranges for its delivery, to a residential premises.

(3) The seller commits an offence if, for the purposes of supplying the bladed product to the buyer, the seller delivers the bladed product, or arranges for its delivery, to a locker.

(4) For the purposes of subsection (1)(b) a person ("A") is not in the presence of another person ("B") at any time if - 

(a) where A is an individual, A or a person acting on behalf of A is not in the presence of B at that time;

(b) where A is not an individual, a person acting on behalf of A is not in the presence of B at that time. 

(5) In subsection (2) "residential premises" means premises used solely for residential purposes.

(6) The circumstances where premises are not residential premises for the purposes of that subsection include, in particular, where a person carries on a business from the premises

(7) In subsection (3) "locker" means a lockable container to which the bladed product is delivered with a view to its collection by the buyer, or a person acting on behalf of the buyer, in accordance with arrangements made between the seller and the buyer.

(8) A person guilty of an offence under this section is liable -

(a) on summary conviction in England and Wales, to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 51 weeks, to a fine or to both;

(b) on summary conviction in Scotland or Northern Ireland, to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 6 months, to a fine not exceeding level 5 on the standard scale or to both.

(9) In relation to an offence committed before the coming into force of section 281(5) of the Criminal Justice Act 2003, the reference in subsection (8)(a) to 51 weeks is to be read as a reference to 6 months.

(10) This section is subject to section 16 (defences).

I feel compelled to have an input into the above proposed bill as it directly impacts me as an online retailer. 

I am a self employed Artist, and I sell my kits to the general public via online methods, from a residential address. 

However, because my kits are for beginners and delivered to a non business residential address 90% of the time, if this bill comes into force, I will no longer be able to sell my kits. My main income. 

The art which I undertake is Paper Cutting, this involves taking a scalpel blade and carving bits of paper away to leave behind an intricate piece of art. These blades used are surgery grade scalpel blades, which cannot be purchased in a high street store and can only be accessed from certified Swann Morton Distributors. 

I know as I am a business of a residential address I will have no problems with the proposed changes when it comes to receiving my delivery of these blades.

However, if I cannot sell these to the public within my kits, it will render my business useless, as my job is for teaching cutting. 

I propose 3 possible methods which could be used to allow the safe sale of sharps to the public via online methods meaning people like me will not lose their entire business model because of this bill. 

Proposal 1 - 

Make it mandatory for all blades purchased online to be delivered by a company which checks the ID of the buyer at point of delivery.

UPS offer this service for around £2.50 extra. If the address does not show proof the item is returned to sender. 

Proposal 2 - 

As we are an online nation, a government issued online ID card.

Businesses register for ID card searches. 

When a buyer purchases a sharps product they are to enter their details as normal (name address etc) but also include their ID number. The business owner should then search the ID register and the parcel can ONLY be delivered to the address shown on the search. Meaning if child X tries to purchase blades online via parents ID, the parcel would be send in the Parents Name meaning Child X still cannot access the bladed products. Whats more, if the ID card is used, and permissions are denied, this allows the automatic data collection of refusals to be recorded.

Proposal 3 - 

Enforce mandatory registers where by I as a retailer have to input data daily/weekly/monthly onto a government profile, detailing the Name, Address and Age of the customer, what they purchased, the date they purchased and also what checks were completed to show Age Verification Checks took place. This would also be a good place to log those who were refused the sale.

Sadly, there will always be people out there to break the law, and I feel this new bill is punishing those of us who are legal and above board, as those who don’t comply currently, still won’t comply regardless of the new bill.

July 2018

 

Prepared 13th August 2018