UK Knife Laws

Regardless of what many people in Great Britain believe, our knife laws are amid the most sensible in the World.

In Great Britain we benefit from laws which on one hand, promote the sensible use and collecting of fine knives, and on the other reject those who would abuse them.

What You Can’t Have:

The following items are banned from sale within the UK (although if you already own one you may keep it, but not use it outside of your own property)

  • Switchblades
  • Automatics or flick-knives
  • Gravity knives
  • Balisongs or butterfly knives
  • Push daggers
  • Belt buckle knives
  • Sword canes
  • Disguised knives
  • Knuckle-duster knives

In 2004, an amendment was introduced which restricts the sale of any knife which is not readily detectable by the normal methods of detection, ie: either x-ray or metal detection, unless it can be proven that the knife’s sole purpose is for the preparation of food.

This means that the Cold Steel CAT Tanto or Lansky Knife is now illegal in the UK.

These knives referred to as both Airport Knives and Stealth Knives.

In 2006, Disguised Knives were prohibited. You may not buy any knife designed to look like something else, for example a knife which appears to be a pen, (it doesn’t matter whether the pen actually works or not).

What You Can Carry:

The Criminal Justice Act (1988) says that you may carry a knife with a blade length of 3.0? or less, as long as it is capable of folding; meaning no fixed blade knives. However use your common sense; a knife has no place at a football match, in a pub, nightclub or school. In such circumstances, the knife is viewed as an offensive weapon.

Bigger Knives:

Bigger knives are legal to own and use on your own property, but if you want to carry a larger knife then you must have ‘reasonable cause’; you must be able to prove that you have a genuine reason for carrying the knife.

You may carry a larger cutting tool if it is associated with your work (a chef carrying a 9 inch butchers knife), or if it is associated with your sport, (a fisherman carrying a 6 inch fillet knife or a hunter with a 4 inch fixed blade hunting knife).

Please don’t forget you have the knife. If you stop off at the supermarket on your way home take the knife out of your pocket and lock it in your glove box or boot. Also when transporting a knife by car, make sure you keep it locked away in the glove box or securely stored in the boot of the vehicle. Do not slip it into the door side-pocket, under your seat or in a centre console, if stopped by the Police this gives the impression of keeping the knife close to hand.

Don’t Argue With The Police:

Make sure that you comply fully with the law. The Police take breaches of knife law very seriously and the measures they take are in place for our safety.

Please note: this page is supplied for information purposes only and only represents our personal understanding of the law. I am in no way legally trained this information is not offered as a substitute in any form for professional legal advice. For more information regarding UK legislation please contact a solicitor.

The Restriction of Offensive Weapons Act (1959)

Prevents the use and sale of switchblades and automatic knives within Great Britain due to the violent and prevalent use by “Teddy Boys”.

The Criminal Justice Act (1988)

The Act outlaws the sale of certain knife categories. Amongst those included are belt buckle knives, push daggers, and other martial arts weapons.

The Offensive Weapons Act (1996)

Restricts the sales of certain types of knife to persons under the age of 16.

The Knives Act (1997)

The most recent law to affect knives in Great Britain basically banned the sale of any knife suitable for combat. Although theoretically, this could mean ANY knife, the law is there to protect us all. It has been left “grey” enough to exercise a little self-control for those wishing to collect such items, yet gives no loopholes for acquisition with violent use or intentions.