The Offensive Weapons Act 2019 makes provision for the surrender of certain weapons. Sections 44, 46, 54 and 55 of the Act amend various pieces of legislation with the effect that it becomes an offence to possess certain dangerous knives, offensive weapons, firearms and ancillary equipment which it was previously lawful to keep (including certain flick-knives and gravity knives).
Compensation will be payable to the owner by the government to encourage the early surrender of these items, and to compensate the owner.
Regulations will provide for a scheme of compensation to be payable to persons surrendering items with a value of £30 or more. Draft regulations are before parliament and are expected to come in to force before the end of this year.
Where a standard level of compensation for an item is specified in a document published by the Secretary of State, that is the amount of compensation payable unless the person claiming the compensation contends that the value exceeds the standard level of compensation payable. If no standard level of compensation is specified, or if the person claims that the value exceeds the standard level, valuation evidence must be submitted, and the level of compensation payable is to be determined by the Secretary of State.
Before any surrender, it will be useful to be sure of the items real value to ensure standardised compensation offers are not too low.
It is essential to take notice of this new scheme once in force as the available compensation is potentially substantial. Also, continuing to possess a weapon that has been classified as unlawful can result in arrest and imprisonment.
However, care should be taken before surrendering a weapon in the belief that its possession was lawful as if this is not the case you may be arrested. It is therefore vital that you take advice before taking weapons to be surrendered.
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