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Cutlery and pen-knives excluded for Scottish Offensive Weapons Act consultation

On the 15th November, the Scottish Government released draft Offensive Weapons Act 2019 (OWA) Statutory Guidance for a consultation. The consultation asks for suggestions for specific changes for the Scotland, with a deadline date of 25th January 2022.

Access the SCOTLAND consultation.


What is the position in the rest of the UK?

Whilst the OWA 2019 is now part of UK law, the retailer and supplier guidance from the UK Government has not been made public (as of 30th November 2021) since an initial draft was put out for consultation in August 2019, so enforcement action for any new clauses is not being undertaken.

The version circulated for consultation in Scotland is largely the same as the UK draft guidelines from August 2019 with some changes, strongly suggesting that this document is the updated UK Guidance, although there is no confirmation of this.


What has changed in these guidelines?

BHETA is very pleased to see certain changes in the Scottish draft from the original UK draft:

  • BHETA asked the Home Office via the 2019 consultation to remove from the list of articles included in the legislation: cutlery, scissors, secateurs and ‘small pocket-knives with blades of less than three Inches’, and suggested that the only cutlery to be included should be “sharply pointed steak knives”. All these requests have been listened to for the Scottish regulations.
  • In the Scottish document, there is no longer a list of products which are considered likely to be covered by the legislation. Rather they have a short list of products that are definitely not included.
  • Cutlery knives (other than sharply pointed steak knives) and pocket knives with blades under 3 inches are specifically excluded.
  • Secateurs and scissors are no longer specifically included in the legislation. It is now up to the courts to decide if they are .


Which products are included?

The Scottish document states:

3.2.2 Section 36 – Defence to sale etc of bladed articles to persons under 18: Scotland

  • The term ‘bladed product’ is a new term introduced by the 2019 Act and specifically means an item which is or has a blade that is capable of causing a serious injury to a person which involves cutting that person’s skin.
  • While it will be for the court to ultimately interpret the legislation, bladed articles, such as those items mentioned as examples below, are unlikely to fall within the definition of bladed product and may therefore still be delivered to residential premises.
    • cutlery knives (other than sharply pointed steak knives);
    • utility knives with small cutting blades
    • a pocket-knife with a folding blade 3 inches (7.62 cm) long or less
    • pizza cutters and
    • small cheese knives.


What is next?

BHETA will continue to wait for the confirmed draft UK guidance.

BHETA is considering whether to make specific representations to the Scottish Government as part of the consultation.

If any member has comments or points they wish BHETA to consider for Scotland then please contact Steve Richardson at BHETA at or 07930 425991.


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