blades taken by police - advice please

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boatman

Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)
Feb 20, 2007
2,444
4
74
Cornwall
Of course to show a knife to somebody else, "flashing it" is a perfectly valid reason. How can they see it if they want to without it being in the open. Sheer nonsense that the knives etc must be concealed and secure while travelling in the car. legal is legal and if there is an exemption or valid reason then they could be surrounded by spotlights and still be legal. The real problem is police ignorance or wilful abuse of power.
 

rik_uk3

Banned
Jun 10, 2006
13,320
20
65
south wales
I agree that on any given day and depending on circumstances, you will get a different opinion from as many police officers as you can encounter in a camping trip :) My own experience (at least in Scotland) is that if you are doing outdoorsy stuff with a knife or an axe (in a "proper" outdoors location, in its appropriate context and not "flashing" it, so to speak) then that is your reasonable excuse for having and using the tool in question. That includes transporting from home and back again - if it is stored out of sight and ideally located in a pocket, secondary bag or other place that does not allow immediate access, then it would be regarded as safe and proper conduct for the activity in progress (NB - lying uncovered in a car boot may not be regarded as a sufficiently suitable security precaution). I wouldn't go on to a family camp site and start chopping and cutting stuff - that is just plain daft and asking for trouble, especially if you have a small arsenal of blades at your disposal.

The Police are not looking to criminalise bushcrafty folk if they act responsibly in appropriate locations - however they do not want to allow potentially dangerous weapons to be aired in non-appropriate situations. (like don't arrive in the city with an axe strapped to the outside of your rucksack). If you stop off at the pub on the way home and insist upon showing off your edged tools (ie potential weapons) then that will drop you right in it in terms of your average police officer. Forgive me if I am stating the obvious.
Well written sensible reply.
 

Doc

Need to contact Admin...
Nov 29, 2003
2,109
10
Perthshire
I think this thread illuminates one very important issue: it is illegal to possess a fixed blade knife in public without ‘reasonable excuse’. I happen to think this is a good law that makes the streets safer, while not criminalising chefs and campers.

But that leaves a gray area of what constitutes ‘reasonable excuse.’ It would not be possible to draft a law that covers every possible circumstance. In the first instance, if the police doubt the ‘reasonable excuse’ they are perfectly entitled to arrest, pass the file to the procurator fiscal/CPS, and if they decide to proceed then it’s for the court to decide if the excuse is reasonable.

If that happens you’re in for a tough time, even if found not guilty – there’s the risk of a criminal record that might cost you your job, legal bills, months of worry, etc. I’d say that this is a situation best avoided.

The view on here is that camping/bushcraft is a reasonable excuse, and looking at the UK Policing online forum, that seems to be the view of most police officers but it depends on the exact circumstances. There is a thread on there about two people camping who had knives confiscated, and many of the PCs seem to agree with that decision, with some arguing they should have been arrested as well. In that particular case they were camping in a very urban area, admitted to using drugs, and the knife was a machete. I suspect the court would have thrown it out if it had got that far, but maybe not.

If we expect the police to use their discretion sensibly, I think we should do the same:

- Take great care to avoid alarming a member of the public. Most people live in cities and many of them do see knives as weapons rather than tools
- Huge aggressive looking knives are not the best tools for the environments found in Britain, are more likely to alarm people and make it harder to demonstrate reasonable excuse.
- Don’t take enough cold steel to arm a regiment. I take a single knife on trips, plus a folding saw.
- Avoid alcohol consumption or display until the cutting tools are packed away for the night
- Make sure your reasonable excuse is genuine and obvious – camping gear or fishing tackle.
- Be in a rural environment where you have a right to be. The more remote the better. Trossachs National Park research shows people camp an average of 29 metres from their car. I typically camp eight or ten miles from my car and I’ve never seen a policeman. I don’t see many people at all.
- Don’t do anything illegal or dodgy, or annoy anyone
- If the police do interview you, make sure you pass the ‘attitude test’.

The police don’t make the law, but the law is clear. In the worst case scenario, you might need to demonstrate reasonable excuse under hostile cross-examination in court. If your reasonable excuse, and responsible attitude is blindingly obvious, it’s very unlikely things will go that far.
 

AndyP

Native
Sep 30, 2005
1,181
21
51
Staffs
Inside the vehicle is not a public place, other wise a policeman would not need either your permission or a good reason to search it.
It is deemed a public place. It is illegal to carry knives in your car unless you have a valid reason.
 

baldscot

Tenderfoot
Nov 21, 2011
74
0
glasgow
Just got in from work and logged on to check thread - i'm a bit overwhelmed by the response and never dreamed it would cause such debate.

Thanks to all for your responses, and for the support.

Special thanks to the moderators for not locking the thread (yet), and for the warnings re: politics

I'm to slow at typing to respond to all these, i'm not sure if this is expected but I will try to answer any questions anyone has about the situation.

Thanks again
 

Silverclaws

Forager
Jul 23, 2009
249
1
Plymouth, Devon
The issue of cars and what is in them, I have just had a search and there a lot of bladed articles in there that need to come out I guess, from the billhook and Mora I use out at the smithy to the knife in my toolbox in the back, which I deem a mechanics tool I keep my toolbox in my car because my car is twenty years old and well just in case, besides out at the smithy I repair machines. The billhook and the Mora used to be kept at the smithy, but when i needed to do stuff at home y tools were not available, so the car boot seemed a good half way position, but it seems as I use my car for other than going out there, the blades need to come out, where I will forget them and end up without my tools when I need them, but such is life in Britain of today, a complete hassle in so many respects.
 

boatman

Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)
Feb 20, 2007
2,444
4
74
Cornwall
It was explicitly stated in SWAT magazine many years ago (in that case with regard to the muzzle velocity of air rifles) that "ignorance is no excuse under the law".
And what of efforts made to increase the power of a confiscated air rifle in order or prosecute under the "capable of exceeding 12ftb? Abuse of police powers or keeping the streets safe?
 

darrenleroy

Nomad
Jul 15, 2007
351
0
47
London
I'm not sure I agree with you here. Your use of the word "appropriate" implies a degree of judgement the police no longer habitually exercise. The police will not go out of their way to make a criminal out of you, but I would not expect much in the way of latitude or sympathy from them. They will legalistically hold you to the very letter of the law.

The law is what it is in this country. It is there, we have to live with it and it should be obeyed. But that doesn't mean I have to like it or approve of it.

Frankly the law in this country has very little to do with what is appropriate or not appropriate behaviour, and everything to do with being seen to be "doing something" in order to assuage fear. For example, there is absolutely no reason why someone like me should not be free to wear my Mora Bushcraft on my belt 24/7, because I would never use it to hurt someone. However the sight of it would make people frightened, even though they were not at risk. Consequently, the law targets me as an easy way to reduce fear.

Conversely, the local neds who wander around with dull kitchen knives stuffed down their trackie bottoms do not engender as much fear as the sight of my Mora Bushcraft would, even though they present a far greater risk. They do not let you see their knife till they're about to stick you with it. The law cannot regulate their behaviour as easily as mine because they come from a group that is almost impossible to police without locking them up.

So we end up with the rather perverse state of affairs where the law spends its resources regulating the "good guys" because it is largely powerless to do anything about the real "bad guys".

Well put. Perception often trumps reality.
 

darrenleroy

Nomad
Jul 15, 2007
351
0
47
London
tidying up for family forumm -MOT

:)
Ha ha. Brilliant. Outlandish but perfectly sums up the idiocy of the current 'group think' in this country.

I'll remember not to take my cheese knife out with me on my next picnic in case a family sitting nearby see me flashing it before slicing a wedge of Jarlsberg to pieces and call the police.
 
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tinderbox

Forager
Feb 22, 2007
195
1
57
East Lothian
What do you mean it's not detachable, have you any idea what feminist sociology lecturers can do with a pair of scissors. Zealots never have a sense of the absurd.
 
Sep 21, 2008
729
0
51
Dartmoor
Baldscot, is it today that you are visiting the police station again?

If so, then keep your head high an good luck. I hope they see sense and just let you have your tools back.

:)
 
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