Skip to main content

+44 (0) 121 237 1130


BHETA to host knife retail group to discuss implications of OWA2019

BHETA Knife Retailing Group meeting – 11th February

BHETA will hold a zoom meeting for suppliers and retailers on Friday 11th February @ 10:00am to discuss the new OWA2019 guidance that were published last week, ahead of their implementation in April.

At the meeting will be:-

  • Tony Allen, Chair of the Government’s Expert Panel Age Restrictions, and Founder & CEO | Age Check Certification Scheme
  • A representative from the Metropolitan Police

Offensive Weapons Act 2019 – What is in the new Statutory Guidance?

The Home Office published in January 2022 the final version of the draft statutory guidance and consultation response on Gov.UK.  The 2019 Act contains new measures on the sales and delivery of corrosive products and knives and bladed products and articles. Here is a link to the publication: ‘Final draft statutory guidance on the Offensive Weapons Act 2019’

The Home Office “expects to commence all the remaining provisions of the Act in Spring 2022, including the sales and delivery provisions relating to corrosive products and knives and bladed products and articles”.  We are advised this is likely to be on or around 6 April 2022, but that is not confirmed.

Key Point summary

  • The Statutory Guidance provides interpretation on selling products to under 18s and remotely
  • Corrosive Products & Substances
    • typically relates to high strength drain cleaners/unblockers, paint strippers, brick and patio cleaners, cleaning products, rust or limescale removers.
  • Bladed items
    • includes any kitchen knife regardless of size or design, cutlery knives, bread knives
    • knives used for the purpose of hobbies and trades, such as stanley knives and snap-off cutters
    • gardening tools, or any other trade tool, that could commonly be described as a knife
  • The legislation sets out that it is illegal to sell corrosives or bladed items to under 18s or remotely. However, it then sets out defences that you could use to avoid prosecution:
    • If charged with selling to an under 18, “it is a defence to prove that the accused took all reasonable precautions and exercised due diligence to avoid committing the offence”. i.e. by checking ages of buyers by requiring the person to produce recognised documents such as a passport or driving licence to prove age or, if it is an online sale, through the use of a system to check the age of the purchaser.
    • If charged with selling remotely it would be a defence to say you had complied with all these points:
      • Robust Age verification system at purchase
      • Clearly marked packaging
      • The seller must ensure a delivered package is handed over to a person aged 18 or over
      • The seller cannot deliver to a locker
  • BHETA lobbied on these points which the Home Office has changed:
    • Specifically excluded are Knives with a folding blade which is 3 inches (7.62 cm) or less in length
    • The following products are no longer explicitly mentioned in the Act:
      • Scissors
      • Secateurs
  • The following products are explicitly listed as being ‘unlikely’ to be considered part of the Act for online sales:
    • Cutlery (except sharply pointed steak knives)
    • Utility knives with small cutting blades
    • Snap off cutters
    • Pizza cutters and small cheese knives

A disappointing aspect for many BHETA members is the retention of cutlery within the Act, making it illegal to sell cutlery knives to under 18s in stores, although the guidance states “most cutlery knives … are unlikely to be considered as bladed products” and therefore can be delivered to residential properties”.


Interested in attending?

Please get in touch with Rajni Kaur in BHETA Member services team on



Share this Post

Strictly Necessary

These cookies are required for our website to operate and include items such as whether or not to display this pop-up box or your session when logging in to the website. These cookies cannot be disabled.


We use 3rd party services such as Google Analytics to measure the performance of our website. This helps us tailor the site content to our visitors needs.


From time to time, we may use cookies to store key pieces of information to make our site easier for you to use. Examples of this are remembering selected form options to speed up future uses of them. These cookies are not necessary for the site to work, but may enhance the browsing experience.


We may use advertising services that include tracking beacons to allow us to target our visitors with specific adverts on other platforms such as search or social media. These cookies are not required but may improve the services we offer and promote.

Change Settings

Welcome. You can control how we use cookies and 3rd party services below

Change Settings Accept
Learn how we use cookies