§ Mr. Wallace
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what proposals he has to amend the criminal law relating to the possession or use of offensive weapons; and if he will make a statement.
§ Mr. Charles Wardle
My right hon. and learned Friend the Home Secretary has no plans to amend the law in this area.
Section 139 of the Criminal Justice Act 1988 makes it an offence in England and Wales to possess in public a bladed or sharply pointed article with the onus on the carrier to show that he has good reason. This measure supplemented the Prevention of Crime Act 1953 which makes it an offence for a person to have an offensive weapon in a public place without reasonable excuse or lawful authority.
The courts have available and use severe penalties to deal with offenders whose crimes involve the use of offensive weapons. The Criminal Justice Act 1991 will enhance the power of the courts to protect the public from serious harm from a violent offender.