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Would you arrest someone for walking down the road with a Leatherman?


Best Answer *Matt*, 04 December 2012 - 11:40 PM

Look, Moxnil, there comes a point where you have to have some social responsibility.  Knife crime is a problem, and people get stabbed and die, and the problem is growing.  We are all aware of this.

 

Legislation is there to try to stop knives being on our streets at all, and our job as officers is to uphold that.  It is unavoidable that it means some people who are responsible enough to carry a knife 'just in case' who would never hurt or threaten anyone, won't be allowed to.  It is no different than to say I as an experienced 40 year old driver in a quality car may well be safe driving at 90 miles an hour on the motorway and safer than a new driver in a dodgy car who has only been driving a week.  However, because a line has to be drawn somewhere in the wider interests of peoples' safety, it is not OK for me to ignore the law on the basis that I believe, or know, I am no threat.  That is how the law works - a general legislation is there that is not tailored to the individual, but is a mean, a 'best fit as we can manage' to achieve the purpose, in this case, to keep knives and knife crime as low as possible.  

 

I am perfectly willing on this forum to take you on your word and accept you in all likelihood wouldn't use the knife criminally.  However, on the street I simply don't have that luxury - You may have no previous and be about to walk into the argument of your life.  You could be going to stab someone who just slept with your wife.  I don't know, and while I might have a general feeling one way or the other, that knife is coming off of you.  It's not a power trip, an ego thing or any kind of complex, its a simple law that we all have to follow.  

 

And that's it - the law applies to everyone, and all laws will not be fair for all people all the time.  But you can't pick and choose this one any more than any other.

 

If what you want to say here is 'it's annoying that because of a load of knife wielding idiots I can't do my boy scout thing', then you are right.  It's the same for all of us.  I can't take my baton and cs home 'just in case' I see a crime on the journey, even though I know I could be trusted with only using it lawfully in the execution of my duty.  That's just how it is, and flogging this poor pony that kicked the bucket somewhere on page 4 starts to become a load of trolling nonsense, because the concept is actually very straightforward, and underpins pretty much all the legislation there is.  

 
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#1 dakid

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Posted 13 November 2012 - 10:33 AM

I've carried a Victorinox Swiss-Army Knife since I was about 16 (now 35), and I probably use it on average once or twice a week (to cut open packaging, to tighten a screw, etc). I've found myself wishing for the last few years that I had pliers on me, as I regularly come across situations where they would be useful. The problem is that it's not proving simple to find a "good" multitool without locking blades.

I'm left with the choice of either carrying an just-adequate multitool that will just about do what I want, or getting a very good one that will very happily do what I want, but that has a locking blade on it, which we all know is technically illegal.

So, the question is ... under the anonymity of an internet forum ... would you arrest someone for carrying one of these? Not someone who can say "yes, I'm an engineer, I need it for work" or something similar, but someone who - like a good scout - has spent his whole life carrying around a Swiss-Army Knife and wants to always be prepared. To look at, I'd probably say I'm the antithesis of "chav" (middle-class white guy, living happily in suburbia with his wife, and who rarely drinks or goes out to pubs), and I'm certainly never going to be in a club, yet I would definitely walk down a High Street on a Saturday morning with my wife, carrying this in my pocket.

Your honest, subjective opinions would be very gratefully received :)

#2 Traffic Rat

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Posted 13 November 2012 - 10:54 AM

Under the letter of the law, a Leatherman WOULD be classed as an Offensive weapon as the blade is locked open by a Mechanisim so as such it does not fall into the definition of 'Folding pocket Knife' and as such could be called a 'Lock Knife'

However there then comes the application of common sense ............. you see where i'm going

#3 Moxnil

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Posted 13 November 2012 - 11:22 AM

Under the letter of the law, a Leatherman WOULD be classed as an Offensive weapon as the blade is locked open by a Mechanisim so as such it does not fall into the definition of 'Folding pocket Knife' and as such could be called a 'Lock Knife'

However there then comes the application of common sense ............. you see where i'm going


That's only partially correct Traffic Rat. In the absence of a good reason to carry it, yes you could arrest. However the power you'd be using would be bladed article legislation. You couldn't use offensive weapon legislation unless there was something to suggest the person was going to use the knife as a weapon.

I'm not a police officer dakid, but I do frequently carry a multitool or knife that locks open, and as such I make it my business to always be up to date with the relevant legislation and any case law. It would be unlikely that you would even be searched in the first place, and even then it'd be unlikely that you'd be arrested.

The bladed article legislation is a grey area in law, which means that common sense, and the attitude of the person with the knife will have the biggest say in what happens next. A law abiding man who was in the scouts who has a multitool with a locking blade has less to worry about than the local chav with previous convictions for brandishing a knife in public caught with the same multitool stuffed down his trousers at 2 in the morning.

My advice would be to get the multitool that best suits your needs. If that means it's a locking blade, then so be it. Keep in mind that many officers also carry Leathermans, and can relate to you when you say you find it useful. If you're sensible and polite with any officer that asks, you should be fine.

Edited by Moxnil, 13 November 2012 - 11:29 AM.


#4 SimonT

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Posted 13 November 2012 - 12:05 PM

I dont know why i would be searching the average MOP for pretty much anything but it can happen.
If i found a tool and asked 'whats this for' unless they were being very difficult or said it was for chopping grannies that would be the end of that.

If it was one of our local offenders causing us grief i would not feel it appropriate to accept their explanation and they could come in under going equipped or possession of a blade. Total policing and all that

Of course that might change with Winsor and PCC's as we will have performance related pay and high priority arbitrary crime detections.

#5 jacko6686

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Posted 13 November 2012 - 12:09 PM

I had mine taken off me in catterick town centre by a police officer. He didn't arrest me but he classed it as a offensive weapon. I I was a mechanic by trade and I had on my stable belt due to the fact I was always using it. That wasn't a good enough reason for the officer though so sadly I handed it over :-(

#6 dakid

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Posted 13 November 2012 - 12:32 PM

Thanks, guys: some useful responses there. It does seem to be very much that "if you're a sensible person; if you are polite and co-operative on challenge; and if you are accepting of the fact that you may lose it when you are challenged; then go ahead and get one, and it will be a useful thing to have with you". I should only be worried about arrest and/or prosecution if I'm obnoxious and/or threatening with it, or obviously if I were to actually use it as an offensive weapon!

#7 Traffic Rat

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Posted 13 November 2012 - 01:36 PM

Moxnil - just to tidy up my post - As you point out Bladed Article over Off Weap Legislation (As me one on traffic!!)

The CJA 1988 mainly relates to carrying knives in public places, Section 139 being the most important.

"It is an offence for any person, without lawful authority or good reason, to have with him in a public place, any article which has a blade or is sharply pointed except for a folding pocket-knife which has a cutting edge to its blade not exceeding 3 inches." [CJA 1988 section 139(1)]

The phrase "good reason" is intended to allow for "common sense" possession of knives, so that it is legal to carry a knife if there is a bona fide reason to do so. Examples of bona fide reasons which have been accepted include: a knife required for ones trade (e.g. a chefs knife), as part of a national costume (e.g. a sgian dubh), or for religious reasons (e.g. a Sikh Kirpan).

In this case, public place is meant as anywhere accessible to the public, so for example a private campsite, which members of the public must book to use, is a public place. Also, knives should only be carried to and from and used at the location where they are needed. For example, leaving a knife in a car for use when you go fishing would be illegal. It should be taken back into the house each time you use the car (other than to go fishing). [1]
The special exception which exists in the Criminal Justice Act 1988 (s139) for folding knives (pocket knives) is another "common sense" measure accepting that some small knives are carried for general utility however even a folding pocket knife of less than 3" (76mm) may still be considered an offensive weapon if carried or used for that purpose. It was a long held common belief that a folding knife must be non-locking for this provision to apply.

A Crown Court case (Harris v DPP), ruled (case law). A lock knife for all legal purposes, is the same as a fixed blade knife. A folding pocket knife must be readily foldable at all times. If it has a mechanism that prevents folding, it's a lock knife (or for legal purposes, a fixed blade) The Court of Appeal (REGINA - v - DESMOND GARCIA DEEGAN 1998) upheld the Harris ruling stating that "folding was held to mean non-locking". No leave to appeal was granted.

#8 Moxnil

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Posted 13 November 2012 - 03:34 PM

I have to say I don't really approve of these matters routinely being dealt with by way of "confiscation with no further action". Could someone confirm what I already believe that it requires consent from the searched person?

#9 jacko6686

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Posted 13 November 2012 - 03:42 PM

It was either I hand it over or go to the nick. Simples. And seeing as I wanted to join the police after my army career I really didn't want to make a fuss over this.

#10 Moxnil

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Posted 13 November 2012 - 03:50 PM

It was either I hand it over or go to the nick. Simples. And seeing as I wanted to join the police after my army career I really didn't want to make a fuss over this.


Ah guess that answers that then.

#11 SimonT

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Posted 13 November 2012 - 07:57 PM

There was a long thread about handing things over to police, in relation to some eastern European malew under a bridge.
Personally I don't seize things without a power and if I do I will investigate.
You shouldn't be threatened with arrest if you don't comply

#12 Moxnil

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Posted 13 November 2012 - 08:15 PM

There was a long thread about handing things over to police, in relation to some eastern European malew under a bridge.
Personally I don't seize things without a power and if I do I will investigate.
You shouldn't be threatened with arrest if you don't comply


That's the one!

I think he was told basically "If can arrest you for this and take the knife, but I am prepared for to waive the arrest if you just hand over the knife". Instead of being arrested specifically for not complying.

#13 Bakes

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Posted 13 November 2012 - 09:12 PM

There was a long thread about handing things over to police, in relation to some eastern European malew under a bridge.
Personally I don't seize things without a power and if I do I will investigate.
You shouldn't be threatened with arrest if you don't comply


This is the thread

http://www.ukpoliceo...ic +cops +knife

#14 gripper

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Posted 13 November 2012 - 09:38 PM

Oh no, not that one again.
That thread almost made me want to use a knife on myself!!!!.

#15 Anna32

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Posted 13 November 2012 - 10:07 PM

Oh no, not that one again.
That thread almost made me want to use a knife on myself!!!!.


It's purely a reminder for anyone who might be interested! :tongue:

We can have a fresh discussion in this thread instead of rehashing old arguments, unless absolutely necessary. Hopefully we'll cover some different points this time round. :thumbsup:

#16 Moxnil

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Posted 13 November 2012 - 10:28 PM

Not sure its necessary though, as OP has had his question answered. Dakid is a law abiding guy who was taught the importance of tools in the scouts, and finds that the multitools he'd find most useful are the ones that usually have a locking blade. Hardly the sort of guy that wouldn't exercise politeness and common sense if searched (and hardly the sort of person that would even be searched in the first place). That's precisely the reason I don't worry about having a lock knife. I pass the attitude test, and am unlikely to be searched.

Edited by Moxnil, 13 November 2012 - 10:30 PM.


#17 dakid

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Posted 13 November 2012 - 10:34 PM

Wouldn't say no to further opinions from serving officers though, on whether they would ever arrest someone with a multitool who was polite and who would surrender it if asked :)

#18 SimonT

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Posted 14 November 2012 - 06:55 AM

I wouldn't. But at the moment we have no specific pressure to do so.
If it was treated like domestic violence or another priority crime our discretion and flexibility would go down the pan.
Besides if it turns out its a performance indicator that I'm a skilled officer and due for skill related pay bonuses then maybe I want to be completely unreasonable.

#19 dakid

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Posted 14 November 2012 - 09:47 AM

I wouldn't. But at the moment we have no specific pressure to do so.
If it was treated like domestic violence or another priority crime our discretion and flexibility would go down the pan.
Besides if it turns out its a performance indicator that I'm a skilled officer and due for skill related pay bonuses then maybe I want to be completely unreasonable.


Thanks for the opinion. I do realise that I'll never get a guarantee, as the act is illegal (whether it was originally intended to be so by virtue of the implemented statute or not), however it's reassuring to know that discretion will (at the moment) be exercised.

As an aside, can I just say that I think it's ludicrous that people would set targets that mean the police cannot just do their job according to their best judgement. Stupid metrics-driven politics.

#20 Moxnil

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Posted 14 November 2012 - 12:15 PM

I wouldn't. But at the moment we have no specific pressure to do so.
If it was treated like domestic violence or another priority crime our discretion and flexibility would go down the pan.
Besides if it turns out its a performance indicator that I'm a skilled officer and due for skill related pay bonuses then maybe I want to be completely unreasonable.


:huh:

Although that might not be a bad thing. If a court rules in favour of lock knives not being fixed blades, then we wouldn't need an excuse to carry, and it would be up to the officer to prove off-wep, or let the person go.

"readily foldable at all times", what exactly does that mean? Well, knives can't fold themselves, so it suggests to me that a person must at all times be capable of performing an action on the knife that results in it being folded. With a non locking knife, this action is simply putting pressure on the blade to fold it. With a lock knife, this involves unlocking the mechanism then folding it. So clearly, both fit the criteria. Fixed blade knives do not, as short of snapping them, you are incapable of causing them to fold.

I really hope that it doesn't become a "performance indicator" as simon has pointed out, though it would not deter me from carrying.

Edited by Moxnil, 14 November 2012 - 12:39 PM.





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