Offensive Weapons Bill

Written evidence submitted by Steven Goldsmith (OWB12)

I have recently been made aware of the home office plans regarding the postage of "bladed objects".

"The first duty of the government is to keep citizens safe and the country secure. The Home Office has been at the front line of this endeavour since 1782. As such, the Home Office plays a fundamental role in the security and economic prosperity of the United Kingdom."

The above line, in bold text, is lifted directly from your own website-I’m sure you will recognize it.

The reason I feel aggrieved enough to write to yourselves is because, as a collector of swords and knives, your actions in banning the postage of bladed objects will directly affect my ability to continue to enjoy a hobby that I, and thousands of others, have enjoyed for many years.

As I live in Northern Ireland- an area of the UK that suffered severe terrorism for many years, ( though very little knife crime) my options for purchasing such products are somewhat limited. To the best of my knowledge there are no retailers selling swords or knives in this province, therefore mail-order is my only option. I am not alone in having this particular problem.

A lot of the suppliers I would buy from, rely on mail-order for the bulk of their business!

Once more, I refer you to the text in bold-"economic prosperity"...

There are a lot of people, whose jobs and livelihoods rely upon customers like myself, from small, one man traders to larger companies that ship all over the world. By removing their ability to post such items, in a stroke, you make their business untenable!

Those individuals will then face economic hardship-through no fault of their own(that will be yours), possibly losing theirs homes etc. Then they will be forced to "sign-on", creating more of a drain on the welfare system!

If you look into the type of "bladed objects" used in most of these knife attacks, I’m sure you will swiftly find that most of the crimes committed, are with a standard kitchen knife-something that is readily available in the family home, or your local branch of Asda/Tesco etc!

You might consider making it a legal requirement to produce two forms of photographic id, for those people wishing to purchase such an item from their local supermarket/corner shop? Also, perhaps if you were to increase the penalty for those committing such acts of violence to something like twenty five years to life, in prison-if caught, with no remission, that might serve as something of a deterrent.

The television campaign against drink driving was quite effective, without banning either alcohol or driving, so why not run a television campaign against this type of crime? Firstly, change the penalties to something quite severe (eight to ten years for possession in a public place), then run the campaign for a couple of years, on all channels, so everyone sees it.

At present, if I wish to purchase a knife/sword etc online, I need to tick a box, stating I am over 18/21. Perhaps an additional check could be implemented, that would further reinforce this security. Consider having to email the retailer a photograph of one’s driving license and/or passport, and upon delivery, ensure the documents are shown upon collection/delivery of the item, instead of the kneejerk reaction of banning postage.

If you think this will work to cause a reduction in this type of crime, I am afraid you are sadly mistaken. The people that carry out these atrocious actions are criminals. They do not respect or obey the law.

Why penalise those of us who do?

Regards,

Steven.

3 July 2018

 

Prepared 4th July 2018