New legislation comes into effect to restrict access to dangerous weapons

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New legislation comes into effect to restrict access to dangerous weapons

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Despite being one of the safest places to live, the South Hams has not been immune to its own incidents of knife crime.

Devon & Cornwall Police are welcoming new legislation that makes it harder for people to buy dangerous weapons and become involved in knife crime.

Changes to legislation brought about by the Offensive Weapons Act 2019 mean that from Wednesday 6 April 2022 it is more difficult for people to buy weapons, both at the point of sale and delivery in order to protect and safeguard people.

Retailers and couriers will now be legally obliged to do more to ensure that knives, corrosives and other offensive weapons are not sold or delivered to those under the age of 18. The new restrictions will also make it an offence to possess a corrosive substance in a public place.

The move comes after the first part of the act came into force in July 2021 banning the possession of certain dangerous items in private.

Devon & Cornwall Police and partner agencies will be working together to educate the public and the business community regarding these changes in legislation.

Detective Chief Inspector Scott Bradley, the Force’s strategic lead for knife crime, said: “The tragic loss of life relating to knife crime causes devastating harm to families and communities. Safeguarding people from knife crime remains a top priority for Devon & Cornwall Police. We are committed to reducing knife crime offences in the counties and keeping our communities safe.

“We welcome these new measures that will go some way to taking weapons off the streets and make it more difficult for people to get hold of knives and other dangerous items in the first place. It also places additional responsibility onto delivery companies to conduct vital age verification upon delivery. These are important developments that will help us to address the growing issue of the online sale of knives.

“Devon & Cornwall retains one of lowest knife crime rates of all 43 police forces and we hope to maintain this record. This type of offence remains low across the region, and we continue to monitor both local and national developments to allow for early intervention should any additional risk be identified.

“We also continue to work in partnership with agencies throughout the force area to reduce the number of offences we do see in Devon and Cornwall. The region remains one of the safest places to live in England.

“It is important for members of the community to be familiar with these changes and understand their meaning. By working together, we can bring about real change.

“We would encourage anyone with concerns to contact Devon & Cornwall Police so we can take action and if appropriate put in safeguarding measures to protect anyone who may be vulnerable.”

In 2021 the number of knife crimes reported to Devon & Cornwall Police decreased by five per cent from 788 in 2020 to 746 in 2021.

Alison Hernandez, Police and Crime Commissioner for Devon, Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly, said: “Tackling increasing levels of violence is a priority in my Police and Crime Plan and we are working hard on this through the Serious Violence Prevention Partnership.

“I welcome this change in legislation and fully support Devon and Cornwall Police and the Chief Constable in their robust approach to tackling weapons, an example of which I witnessed in Op Medusa in Plymouth recently.

“Anything that can help steer our people away from violence and weapons can only be a good thing. The vast majority of people in Devon and Cornwall are responsible and I would urge any of them who witness violence or weapons in use to report it anonymously via Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.”

If you believe someone is in immediate possession of a knife or offensive weapon please dial 999. If you would like to report your concerns about a knife carrier or need some advice, please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or visit devon-cornwall.police.uk and report it online.

Please follow the guidance from your Local Authority on how to dispose of unwanted knives.

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