Knife crime

Knife crime is any crime that involves a knife. It's a crime to threaten someone with a knife or carry a knife as a weapon in a robbery or burglary. If police think you're carrying a knife, they can search you.

What counts as knife crime

Knife crime includes:

  • carrying a knife or trying to buy one if you’re under 18
  • threatening someone with a knife
  • carrying a knife that's banned
  • a murder where the victim was stabbed with a knife
  • a robbery or burglary where the thieves carried a knife as a weapon

Carrying a knife

Some young people say that they carry a knife for protection or to make them feel safer, but wouldn’t use the knife.  Someone carrying a knife is more likely to become a victim of crime.

Sometimes young people are injured or killed by someone else using the knife they were carrying.

Penalties for knife crime

The law on knives says:

  • if you’re under 18, it’s illegal to buy most types of knives
  • anyone over 10 can be charged and taken to court if they’re caught with an illegal knife – even if it’s the first time they’ve been stopped by the police
  • if you're caught carrying a knife, you could receive a community sentence, a fine or imprisoned
  • you could be searched at any time if a police officer thinks you may be carrying a knife
  • even if you’re carrying a knife that you’re legally allowed to (like a penknife with a blade that’s shorter than three inches), it becomes illegal if you use it as a weapon to threaten or harm anyone

The maximum sentence for anyone found guilty of carrying an illegal knife is four years. If you injure someone or use a knife to commit a crime the penalties could more.

Helping to stop knife crime

If you have a knife and want to get rid of it, talk to an adult who you trust. They’ll be able to help you find the best way to dispose of it. You might also want to find out when your nearest police station runs a ‘knife amnesty’. During an amnesty, you can hand in your unwanted knife without having to answer questions from the police.

If you have information about knife crime in your area and you're nervous about going to the police, you can call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111. They will never ask for your name or try to trace the number that you're calling from.

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