Knives and offensive weapons


These pages provide general information on the background and sources of the law relating to knives and offensive weapons.

This information is in response to the numerous queries the Home Office receives enquiring whether a specific, perhaps an unusual, type of weapon comes within the definition in law of an offensive weapon.


This material provides a summary of the relevant law. The Home Office cannot provide a view on the legality of a specific article. That is a matter to be determined by the courts. If you have concerns in relation to a specific item, you may want to seek advice from a solicitor.

Frequently asked questions

We have put together a series of frequently asked questions on knives and offensive weapons, grouped under the subjects of:

Further information

Additionally, the document 'Knives and offensive weapons information' outlines the legislation and defences on carrying a knife in public; the manufacture, import, sale or hire of offensive weapons; specified weapons; crossbows; and the sale of knives and offensive weapons to anyone under 18.