What is the penalty for knife crime?

The average length of jailtime for possession of a knife is 7 months. If carried in public, you face 2 years imprisonment and a £5,000 fine.



It’s an offence to carry any knife in public, even if you’re not behaving in a threatening manner.

It isn’t illegal in the UK to own a knife in private (though flick knives, butterfly knives and disguised knives are prohibited). However, if any knife is used in a threatening way, in a private environment, it becomes an offensive weapon.

Knife crime sentencing Q1 2011

  • 5,228 offenders were caught in possession of a knife or offensive weapon
  • 1,014 were immediately jailed – 32% of which was for more than 6 months
  • Just carrying a knife could make you liable to a fine of up to £1,000, or a maximum of four years imprisonment. If it’s used to injure or threaten someone the penalties are more severe.

Source: BBC News

Further help

  • For help contact: 0845 456 4567 (in an emergency always dial 999)

Read more

  • Which weapons are illegal? Knives @ thesite.org

    Excerpt: It’s illegal for anyone under the age of 18 to buy a knife. Flick knives, butterfly knives and disguised knives (hidden in a belt or mobile phone etc) are illegal to everyone. Swiss Army knives are allowed, so long as the blade is under 7.62cm, however if any knife is used in a threatening way it becomes an offensive weapon. It’s an offence to carry a knife in public, and you can face a penalty of two year’s imprisonment and a £5,000 fine for doing so. If you’re caught with a knife at school you could be sentenced to four years in jail.

  • Knife crime @ Norfolk Constabulary

    Excerpt: Knives can cause serious and fatal injuries. The number of crimes involving knives in Norfolk remains low but our message is clear – don’t carry knives. If you carry a knife you are more likely to become involved in a violent situation and get injured yourself.

image by stevepb under CC0 license