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The Home Office is going ahead with plans to outlaw all zombie knives and some types of machetes in England and Wales but the opposition Labour Party has described the government as “hopelessly weak” on crime.
Zombie knives—often bought from websites based abroad—first began to emerge in London and other cities in the early 2010s and in June 2015 Stefan Appleton, 17, was stabbed to death in a park with one in Islington, north London.
In 2016 the government banned the sale, manufacture or importation of so-called zombie slayer knives, usually known just as zombie knives.
Such knives have blades of up to 25 inches, a serrated edge and are often marketed in ways that “glamorise violence.”
But knife crime continued to rise and in February 2023 official figures revealed the number of people who had died in England and Wales as a result of a bladed instrument had risen to a record level of 280 between April 2021 and March 2022, and many of the lethal weapons were machetes or zombie knives.
In April the Home Office opened to public consultation a plan to outlaw any blades which are “designed to look menacing” and “with the intention to threaten.”
The Home Office’s definition includes any bladed weapon more than eight inches long with a plain-cutting edge and a sharp pointed end which either has a serrated cutting edge, more than one hole in the blade or multiple sharp spikes.
Cooper: Tories ‘Hopelessly Weak’ on Crime
But shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper said: “This is the sixth time in seven years that the Conservatives have promised to outlaw zombie knives. Time and again the Tories have been hopelessly weak and slow to tackle this serious and dangerous crime.”
In April, a judge urged jurors to write to their MPs about the danger of zombie knives after Emadh Miah, 18, was convicted of murdering Ghulam Sadiq in Leytonstone, east London, with a 22-inch blade, a weapon which was at the time legal to purchase.
Judge Christine Laing, KC, said: “The weapon we are concerned with here has absolutely no place in this society. I advise you to write to your MPs and ask why it is that weapons like the one you saw in this case can be bought from a website legitimately.”
She told jurors: “These weapons are there for anybody to purchase and it is beyond me as to why that is. Knife crime in general is becoming the scourge of our society but at the moment people can get weapons like that, it’s really quite shocking.”
The Home Office said they were closing a loophole which had allowed some retailers to continue selling dangerous weapons without breaking the law.
Following the public consultation, the Home Office will introduce legislation that will outlaw possessing bladed articles “with the intention to endanger life or cause fear of violence.”
Maximum Sentence Will be 2 Years
They said the maximum sentence for the importation, manufacturing, possession and sale of zombie knives will be two years.
But, as The Epoch Times pointed out recently, judges rarely hand out maximum sentences for possession of a bladed article.