What is a zombie knife and why were they banned?

As of Thursday the 18th of August 2016 “zombie knives” will be banned in the United Kingdom following amendments to the Criminal Justice Act 1988. Zombie knives are ornate blades which are regularly printed with images or words which glamorise violence. The ban prohibits the sale, manufacture, rental or importation of the blades. The Home Office will be enforcing the ban within England and Wales, while legislation is also expected to be introduced in Northern Ireland.

Also referred to as “zombie slayer knives” or “zombie killer knives”, a zombie knife can carry a blade of up to 25 inches and can be purchased for as little as £8. The weapons are usually marketed as collectors’ items. They often have serrated edges on them which are inspired by blades generally seen in horror movies. Zombie knives usually come in bright colours and are generally a lot larger and more intimidating than an ordinary knife. It is generally illegal to carry any knife in public, though you may have a defence if it has a folding blade 3 inches long or less, you are over 18, and you have a good reason to have it on your person at that particular time.

The Minister for Vulnerability, Safeguarding and Countering Extremism, Sarah Newton said “we committed to banning the sale, manufacture and importation of these dangerous weapons, with the ban now becoming law, we are delivering on our commitment. Anyone caught making or selling zombie knives now face up to four years in prison”

The new ban comes in addition to the government attempting to take control of the knife situation the UK. In the year ending in March 2016, police had logged 28,664 offences that involved a knife or a sharp object which is an increase of 10% in comparison with the previous 12 months. Ministers are hoping that this ban will result in a decrease in blade crimes yet are naively disregarding the high number of blade like weapons that are still available to the general public. Sarah Newton stated “this government will act wherever necessary to cut crime and keep our communities safe”.

In June 2015, 17-year-old Mr. Stefan Appleton was stabbed to death by Mr. Blaise Lewinson with a 25 inch “zombie killer machete” in Nightingale Park in North London whilst children were playing nearby. Mr. Appleton was stabbed in the chest and leg and died later in hospital. Mr. Lewinson was sentenced to life imprisonment for manslaughter. Following this incident, investigations have increased and is another reason as to why the ban has been brought forward. The government believe that the distinctive look of the blades is leading them to be used as a status symbol in criminal circles.

A company based in Oldham, Greater Manchester that sells the soon to be banned weapons has been criticised for urging its customers to buy the knives “while you can” in a message posted on their website on Monday stating, “order now – after 16th of August 2016 you will no longer be able to purchase zombie knives in the UK, so grab them while you can!”. West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner, David Jamieson, who was instrumental in implementing the ban commented on the matter stated, “promoting these pointless knives is irresponsible and flies in the face of what we are trying to achieve with this ban”.

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