Publication types:

Publication topics:
Sale of knives etc to persons under 18

Published on:

1 June 2022

A consultation paper on the sentencing of the offence of sale of knives etc to persons under 18.

Sale of knives etc to persons under 18: consultation paper

This consultation closed on 24 August 2022.

What was this consultation about?

We consulted on two guidelines for the offence of the sale of knives etc to persons under 18 contrary to section 141A of the Criminal Justice Act 1988; one for sentencing individuals and one for sentencing organisations.

There are currently no guidelines for this offence. The offence of selling knives to persons under the age of 18 is prosecuted by Trading Standards departments within local authorities and almost all prosecutions are as a result of test purchases. In 2020 the Council received a submission on behalf of the London Borough of Barking and Dagenham regarding the need for a sentencing guideline for this offence. The submission argued that sentences being passed for larger organisations did not adequately reflect the seriousness of the offence and the means of the organisation. The Council agreed to add this to the list of future guidelines to be developed when resources were available.

Who was asked to respond?

The Council sought views from judges, magistrates, professionals across the criminal justice system and as many people as possible interested in the sentencing of these offences. We wanted to hear from anyone who uses sentencing guidelines in their work or who has an interest in sentencing. We would also like to hear from individuals and organisations representing anyone who could be affected by the proposals including:

  • victims and their families;
  • defendants and their families;
  • those under probation supervision or youth offending teams/supervision;
  • those with protected characteristics: age, disability, gender reassignment, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief, sex and sexual orientation.

What did we want to know?

We prepared this consultation paper to set out the Council’s thinking. We are particularly interested in your views on:

  • the principal factors that make any of the offences included within the draft guidelines more or less serious;
  • the additional factors that should influence the sentence;
  • the types and lengths of sentence that should be passed;
  • Whether there are any issues relating to disparity of sentencing and/or broader matters relating to equality and diversity that the guidelines could and should address; and
  • anything else you think should be considered.

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