Offensive Weapons Bill to include acid possession in public

A ban on the sale of the most dangerous corrosive products to under-18s and tough restrictions on online sales of knives have been announced by the Home Office.

The Offensive Weapons Bill will also make it a criminal offence to possess corrosive substances in a public place, and there are plans to enable the police to search for and seize acid from people, following a public consultation.

The new Offensive Weapons Bill would also make it illegal to possess certain offensive weapons like zombie knives and knuckle-dusters in private.

Home Secretary Amber Rudd said: "We will introduce a new Offensive Weapons Bill that includes a new offence of possessing acid in public without good reason, prevents sales of acids to under 18s and stops knives being sent to people’s homes when bought online.”

The legislation will include a minimum custodial sentence for those convicted of a second or subsequent offence of possession of a corrosive substance in a public place.

The new offence of possessing certain offensive weapons in private would ensure that in future where the police find a zombie knife, for example, in someone’s home they can arrest and charge the owner with this proposed offence and remove the offensive weapon from the owner.

The Home Office has also added sulphuric acid to the list of regulated explosives precursors that come under the Poisons Act 1972. This will mean that members of the public will require a licence to acquire, possess and use the substance.

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