UK Knife Law
Before we begin, this article is designed to be a simple, yet useful and informative guide to UK Knife Law as it currently stands (at the time of writing)here in the UK. We are NOT legal professionals and we are NOT offering professional legal advice in any way, shape or form - this is something that you would need to seek independently, but this article will serve as a guide to shed some light on the somewhat gloomy UK laws that surround the carrying and use of knives in the UK as we best understand them to be.
The details contained here are for information purposes only, and you must always bear in mind the ever evolving laws which may, or may not affect specific areas of the country. So please read this guide and use it alongside your own judgement and common sense.
No part of this information should be relied upon in a court of law and we would always encourage you to seek independent legal advice on any legal matters.
We have included some useful links towards the bottom of these pages for further reading.
Greenman Bushcraft has been a responsible supplier of knives and tools for nearly ten years. And we carry out full identity checks (NOT Credit Checks) on anyone wishing to order any age-restricted products from our website or showrooms. And, whilst we always strictly follow the law, we must emphasise to our customers that any product purchased from us must be used responsibly and appropriately.
Landing yourself in any legal trouble is rare, but follow these simple rules and you should never have any problems.
UK Knife Law
When we break down UK knife law, it’s not quite as confusing as it first appears, although in some areas it can be a little vague. The key term is that of ‘Reasonable Cause’. You must have a genuine and evident reason for carrying a knife.
Folding Knives - UK knife law clearly states that any knife with a non-locking blade less than three inches in length is legal to carry in the UK. HOWEVER, should you take this into an environment where you have no justification to carry a knife, such as a petrol station, sporting event, supermarket, etc, then you should expect to be prosecuted.
Fixed blade OR locking blade knives - of any length are not illegal to own or carry, IF you have ‘Reasonable Cause’ for doing so. For example, you’re a chef carrying a roll of knives to and from work. OR, you’re a fisherman needing a fillet knife, or maybe a woodworker/ carpenter/bushcraft instructor traveling to and from work. IF you’re unable to show ‘Reasonable Cause’ then you could be prosecuted.
The emphasis and responsibility is always down to the owner/person using/carrying the knife and it is your job to be able to provide sufficient evidence of ‘Reasonable Cause’. Ignorance or forgetfulness is not justifiable.
You must always be aware of your surroundings, even a `UK-Legal` knife can be regarded as an issue in some surroundings. Likewise a `Non-Legal` bushcraft knife can be regarded as acceptable if a legitimate use can be established.
It’s important to stress that ALL of the knives, machetes, parangs, kukris, axes, billhooks, multi-tools, folding knives and lock knives that we stock are legal to own and use with ‘Reasonable Cause’. Unlike some places, we try to steer away from the terms of ‘UK-Legal Carry’ as this implies that other knives that are available in the UK are not legal, but as described above, all of the cutting tools sold via our website are legal if being used responsibly and appropriately in the correct environments.
When a knife is not being used, it must be stored correctly, safely and away from public view.
Some Knives which are illegal to own in the UK are:
Flick Knives, Switchblades, Gravity Assisted Knives, Automatic Knives, Push Daggers, Belt Buckle Knives, Cane Swords, Balisongs or ‘Butterfly Knives’, Disguised Knives, Knuckle Duster Knives, Throwing Stars, Stealth Knives ‘Airport Knives’, and as of 2016 knives that are described as 'Zombie Killers/killing knives' but this also applies to other cutting implements with the same description.
All of the above are also illegal to sell or import into the UK.
For more detailed information on UK knife laws please visit the links below