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blades taken by police - advice please

Discussion in 'Bushcraft Chatter' started by baldscot, Aug 17, 2012.

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  1. baldscot

    baldscot Tenderfoot

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    Hi everyone, i hope the title gives a fairly clear overview of my predicament but i'll explain more.

    I am still reluctant to call myself a bushcrafter as i consider myself a novice. My main learning resources have been this site and you tube, and i have spent the last year practicing skills and gathering some gear.

    After much persuasion, i managed to talk 4 of my mates out of the pub and into the woods for a weekend. We headed for a small loch in the Trossachs where i have been many times and established a good rapport with the forest rangers by tidying our site on arrival, respecting the area and leaving it in a better state than when we arrived. The rangers did visit on our 1st night and were more than happy with us being there.

    I had the following TOOLS:

    Condor Kumunga (only got this 2 weeks ago after much researching)
    Mora Clipper
    Whitby folding lock knife (only really used for food prep)
    Small axe (approx 10 inches long)
    Bahco Laplander
    Cheap folding saw (didn't want anyone breaking my bahco)
    Splitting wedge and club hammer

    On 2nd night police arrived - i was using the splitting wedge as there was a young couple with child approx 150 yards away at the lochside and did not think it appropriate to have knifes out. One of the officers immediately threatened to arrest me for possesion of an offensive weapon when he noticed the Condor. All knives were sheathed and axe was in a log due to no sheath. I avoided arrest by agreeing to put all blades (apart from splitting wedge and hammer) in the car.

    On arrival back home i found Tony's great page on UK knife law. As i believed I had done nothing wrong, I contacted police hq for advice on future use of blades. Very helpful on phone, agreed it sounded like i had done nothing wrong but advised they could only give limited advice without seeing the blades.

    I arranged to visit the police station with all my blades and turned up today. I have had all blades removed from me, including both folding saws. Apparently I MIGHT get them back, if the officer with the initial concerns has no problem with me getting them.

    For context, I work in social care so i cannot really afford to risk arrest and fight my case at court - however i am obviously gutted at the outcome.

    Any advice would really be appreciated - i am considering local councillor, MP etc. Not keen to make police complaint as i don't really want blue lights in my mirror for months to come.

    Sorry for the length of post - thought it important to include as much detail as possible.
     
  2. Cyclingrelf

    Mod

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    Gosh! I'm not sure what to say, as don't know the laws very well myself (am sure others here can advise you on that). However, it sounds like the police haven't actually made a final decision yet, so as it stands we can still hope they'll give your tools back? Like any beaurocracy, I expect it will take them a while, so might be worth ringing every few days to politely check whether there have been any decisions made yet regarding your case?
     
  3. Jock

    Jock Forager

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    Sounds like an over zealous individual. You could write to the relevant chief inspector without making an official complaint? Some of them are woeful, I guess it's just your luck who you run up against & what frame of mind they're in. For them to confiscate at the station seems ridiculous (maybe consider legal advice? I would)
    Pretty annoying thing to happen
     
  4. shaggystu

    shaggystu Full Member

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    a lawyer is probably a slightly better place to go for legal advice than an internet forum, "some bloke from the internet" rarely stands up as defence statement.

    sorry to hear about your troubles, welcome to the forum :)
     
  5. Dartmoor navigator

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    Can we get this straight.

    1. You camped with some sharp things but resolved the issue - OK so that now has nothing to do with the current situation.

    2. On a fresh occasion you turn up (by prior appointment) at a police station to ask advice on specific sharps which are perfectly legal to own and they are confiscated.


    Is that right?
     
  6. tiger stacker

    tiger stacker Native

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    Difference between Strathclyde and Central will be interesting once the merger goes ahead. Chances are the Trossachs Police hailed from Callendar or Balfron.
    Which station did you visit, by voluntary handing them over you are still on the rightside of the law. The case for the condor rests on what it is to be used for, their decision may seem harsh if the original officer wish to arrest you for possession. He did not do that though, good luck though.
     
  7. Beefy0978

    Beefy0978 Forager

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    There are two separate issues here. The camping incident an then the police station. Had you spoken earlier I would have said matter resolved in the woods by your agreeing to put them in the car. Had the police felt strongly they would have arrested you. I would suggest a positive outcome for you. This is merely ensuring you get the tool out, use it and put it away. Safest way for everyone. Since the car was nearby it made sense to use it as a locked cabinet so to speak.
    If that was all that happened why on earth did you ring the police station, or indeed go there? They certainly don't need to see the items to offer the correct advice. Can't help feeling there's a little more to this. But you turn up and present them. The police station is a public place so they were within the law to seize them from you. This leaves me with some questions though. We're you arrested? We're you formally interviewed? If you were they may be seeking advice from the cps or scottish equivalent as to potential charges for possessing offensive weapons in a public place (the police station).
    Assuming you are relating the whole story I would suggest obtaining the services of a solicitor ASAP to ensure your property is not disposed of.
    As for complaining, please do. You will get a better explanation then. Don't think that you'll be targeted as a result. In fact it's likely to have the opposite effect.
    Either way, good luck.
     
  8. baldscot

    baldscot Tenderfoot

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    Thanks for the replies. As yet, i have not been charged with any offence so i don't think a lawyer will be much good - it would probably cost more for their advice than the tools themselves cost. Also, even if a lawyer was to say i am within my rights to act as i was, i doubt it would deter any officers i may deal with in the future - I imagine "some lawyer told me..." may aggrevate them more.

    Contacting the chief inspector informally is a good suggestion, thanks for that. I just want to enjoy my hobby without causing any offence to anyone and without risking arrest.

    If I haven't heard from them by Wed, i'll be contacting the station (by then the 2 officers involved should have had time to communicate) so i'll keep post updated with the outcome.

    Thanks again for the replies and advice
     
  9. shaggystu

    shaggystu Full Member

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    so what is it that you're asking us for? if you think that the legal advice that you'd get from a legal professional is of no use then how on earth is legal advice from amateurs of any use?

    some interesting phrases in there. when you say "aggrevate them more", what leads you to think that they're aggrevated in the first place? why would you be concerning yourself with deterring any officers that you may deal with in the future? deter them from what?

    this really baffles me, why on earth would a chief inspector risk his career to speak to someone "informally" about an issue that he's paid to deal with professionally?

    i really do hope that i'm wrong, but i'm suspicious by nature and something's not right here at all, there's bits missing
     
  10. Silverclaws

    Silverclaws Forager

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    One thing I have discovered about UK policing is that as police they don't know the law, they are not lawyers, but if in their opinion a law is being broken they have the right to confiscate pending further investigation and arrest if necessary, that means they will be checking if what has been confiscated is unlawful and boy, from experience are they keen to find out if something is unlawful. If what you have is within the law expect your possessions back without even an apology, but if such items are valuable to you, in your place I would be consulting a law professional.

    As to legal sharps in a public place, that is a tricky one especially since the invention of the cell phone, as there are too many people who like to complain and complaints made to the police, the police have to act and if they are forced to come out, well you got told to put them in your car, that is about as much as saying you were doing nothing wrong, it is just others had seen you and they were not comfortable with the fact you had what you had and you can bet your bottom dollar they mentioned they had children with them, because 'children' is the key word that seems to be able to circumvent anything legal.

    But look at it this way, you and your mates were doing interesting things, and the complainant was out with a child, what do you think bloke with child was thinking, maybe he would rather be doing what you were doing and the fact that he was unable due to child made him envious, so if he can't have the fun you are having he will spitefully ruin yours, childish yes, but what are adults if they are not grown up children at times.

    But I understand other countries laugh at us with our pathetic attitude when it comes to knives, anyone ever been to Sweden, ever notice workmen in the street, all wear fixed blade knives, in fact the popular workwear 'Snickers', which is Swedish even have a sheath built into the jackets for the fitment of a Mora Clipper in a blade up position. Everyone can handle knives there, it is no big deal, and seeing kids sporting Clippers, no one bats an eyelid.

    This country needs to grip and quickly as it is sliding down the pan of stupidity too fast as we are wrapped in more and more layers of cotton wool to protect ourselves from ourselves.
     
  11. caffeine

    caffeine Banned

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    make sure you pout everything in writing :)

    keep a log of all events

    ALSO !!!!

    i studied law @ A level and I know this for a fact ...

    to commit a crime you need ... the mensrea and the actusrea.

    mensrea is the forethought of commiting a crime.

    actusrea is the action of committing a crime.

    you've already stated you dont know the laws so no crime has been committed.

    so until you're actually told something is illegal its not.

    ik its a long quote but i have a feeling you might find many answers here ...
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Knife_legislation#United_Kingdom


    just after reading the last 2 paragraphs i have a good feeling you'll get them back ;0)

    PS.

    STOP SPECULATING AND LOOK AT THE FACTS.
     
    #11 caffeine, Aug 19, 2012
    Last edited: Aug 19, 2012
  12. mountainm

    mountainm Full Member

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    I'm not sure ignorance of the law is any real defence (not that it is needed in this case). I think its safe to say if they're legal to sell they're legal to own.
     
  13. Wook

    Wook Settler

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    That doesn't sound right at all.

    People get convicted for doing things they didn't know were illegal all the time. Just recently in my local area a Polish gentleman was convicted for carrying a lock knife.

    I guess he assumed that since Britain isn't a former communist country with a questionably free system of government then we couldn't possibly have less freedom than his country ;)

    He was wrong, and they confiscated his knife and I believe slapped him with a fine.

    Ignorance is no defence it would seem.
     
  14. charleslockerbie

    charleslockerbie Full Member

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    I dont believe youve broke the law, goodluck to you getting your tools back.
     
  15. Silverclaws

    Silverclaws Forager

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    The only trouble with the above is witches still get athames confiscated by the police regardless of the fact that the implement is a ceremonial tool used for religious worship.
     
  16. Scots_Charles_River

    Scots_Charles_River Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)

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    ############# deleted ############
     
    #16 Scots_Charles_River, Aug 19, 2012
    Last edited: Aug 19, 2012
  17. Lister

    Lister Settler

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    If you called the station to arrange to discuss your equipment and gave prior warning/notification you would be travelling to/entering the station with what may be deemed as "offensive weapons" then they should have that on record which should help your case as you can prove beyond reasonable doubt that you stated the reason for having the items in your possession.

    It may be worth also talking to the rangers at the site you used as they may be able to give a statement to your intention with the objects at the site.
     
  18. Corso

    Corso Full Member

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    if you were invited to the police station to show the items the police themselves gave you 'good reason' a polite word with the chief inspector should resolve this.
     
  19. rik_uk3

    rik_uk3 Banned

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    How old is the OP?
     
  20. caffeine

    caffeine Banned

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    What I stated is true, this is how many people avoid the law ... especially small menial cases. (It would be looked at differently if it were a case of manslaughter / murder / GBH / ABH)

    I think in this case you have reasonable grounds to have been carrying your knife at the time. (plus the fact you were away from any members of the public and keeping to yourselves)

    You also phoned and requested to take your knives to the police station and they approved prior to you taking them. (This will be a strong point too for the return of your knives)

    If you have a pretty clean record this will weigh in your favour.

    The general public are not expected to know the laws.

    The police are only there to enforce them.

    I believe the first officer dealt with the situation accordingly. The second encounter at the station I believe she was following the default/general guides they have there.

    Although it does seem a little unfair they confiscated them after you requesting what you did.

    MAKE SURE YOU MAKE THEM AWARE THAT YOU ARE AWAITING A RESPONSE ... as they might bull**** you and say they've been destroyed by accident.

    If you don't get them back then I would start a formal complaint and approach your local MP / council rep.

    Thinking about it they might confiscate them based on the size of the blade ... BUT NO WHERE DOES THE LAW STATE A MAXIMUM SIZE.
     
    #20 caffeine, Aug 19, 2012
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 22, 2012
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