The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, is today urging Home Secretary James Cleverly to finally ban zombie-style knives and machetes after years of Government delays to vital legislation that have allowed the dangerous weapons to continue being sold on the streets of London and the UK.
Ahead of a meeting with the Home Secretary, Sadiq has sent a letter calling for him to put an end to unacceptable delays to the legislation and urgently bring forward tougher laws that will ban the blades and close loopholes to prevent their sale.
The dangerous weapons are still available to purchase cheaply and legally online, with no legislation in place – meaning a lottery ticket is harder to buy. The Mayor has continually called on Ministers to bring forward plans to outlaw the knives and toughen up the proposals to ensure the weapons cannot be purchased when laws are eventually introduced.
Plans have been outlined to ban the blades since 2016, but none of the seven Home Secretaries since then – Theresa May, Amber Rudd, Sajid Javid, Priti Patel, Suella Braverman, Grant Shapps and Suella Braverman again – have delivered, despite repeated announcements to ban them. Theresa May, Amber Rudd, Sajid Javid and Priti Patel, together with current Policing Minister Chris Philp, all announced plans to ban the blades since 2016.
Meanwhile, Government increased the age for buying lottery tickets in 2021 following a consultation in 2019.
Sadiq will reiterate to the Home Secretary in a meeting this week that tough action is urgently required to finally take these knives off the streets of London and the UK, and that the Government must close the loopholes that risk its latest proposals being ineffective.
That includes the threat of manufacturers changing designs to circumnavigate narrowly defined restrictions – as the proposed measures cover knives that have either a serrated edge, more than one hole in the blade, or multiple sharp spikes.
The latest proposals also allow for machete-style knives that have ‘legitimate use’, including for work or leisure. The Mayor thinks there is not enough evidence to support knives like these being used in London for such purposes, and that they are purchased solely to inflict harm, violence and to intimidate.
Earlier this month, actor Idris Elba also shone a light on the urgent national issue of knife crime with his ‘Don’t Stop Your Future’ campaign and echoed the Mayor’s long-standing call to change the law.
Tackling violence in the capital is the Mayor’s top priority and he has provided record investment in the Met from City Hall and established London’s first-ever Violence Reduction Unit. The number of homicides, gun crime and the number of young people being injured with knives have all fallen in London since 2016. This is despite massive government cuts to policing and youth services over the last decade.*
The causes of violent crime are extremely complex and wide-ranging, including inequality, social alienation, mental ill-health and a lack of opportunity, and the Mayor remains ready to work with Government and partners to drive down all forms of violent crime.
The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said, “It is simply unacceptable that zombie-style knives and machetes are still on the streets of London and the UK eight years after Ministers first proposed banning the sale of the blades.
“We’ve repeatedly been promised action, but instead it’s harder for a teenager to buy a lottery ticket than a zombie knife while we’ve seen a merry-go-round of Home Secretaries failing to deliver. These unacceptable delays must end and I urge the Home Secretary to urgently bring forward and toughen up this legislation to finally end the scourge of these weapons on our streets.
“I’m committed to doing all I can to tackle violence and keep Londoners safe, and am proud of the progress that has been made thanks to City Hall’s record investment in the Met and London’s Violence Reduction Unit, but we need Ministers to use their powers to help us. I stand ready to work with Government as we build a safer London for everyone.”