Is a leatherman skeletool legal carry?

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Paul_B

Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)
Jul 14, 2008
4,039
454
Lancashire
Just out of curiosity, do you often give police officers a reason to stop and search you? What is it in your behaviour that gives them that reason.

Personally I've been stopped by police when in the car but never searched. Even when I couldn't stop laughing at the village people motorbike cop complete with the dodgy 70s tache. If they'd searched my car there was a locking blade in one of the front, door side pockets. It was a gerber and only an inch and a half long blade but probably not legal. For years I had that knife stashed in a small pocket in my outdoor trousers. I forgot it was there and it was so small and light I never felt.it.

My point is there's three ways to carry a knife. Carry a legal one, carry one that would be illegal if you didn't have a justification and carry one but in a way that it can't be seen plus you don't give them a reason to search you. The last one is technically illegal and risky but personally I'm yet to be stopped with any knife. I must look innocent!

Anyone think this last option is too risky? Anyone else does this too?
 

lostplanet

Full Member
Aug 18, 2005
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sunndog

Full Member
May 23, 2014
3,379
369
derbyshire
Iv
The best tool i had for my bike was an old double ended (flat one side and crosshead the other) screwdriver that you get with a car tool kit.
Ive had one those old screwdrivers in my bike tool kits for years they are great little things
A cheap upgrade though is a stanley six way screwdriver

https://www.google.com/aclk?sa=L&ai=DChcSEwiqxJ7kxZHgAhVLu-0KHUTWBeQYABADGgJkZw&ae=1&sig=AOD64_37WN45FpNZgPRB7-m9hFLYKi7Ulg&ctype=5&q=&ved=2ahUKEwilrZjkxZHgAhVdShUIHQqhAjoQwg96BAgKEA0&adurl=https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B0001IW7PC/ref=asc_df_B0001IW7PC58142110/?tag=googshopuk-21&creative=22110&creativeASIN=B0001IW7PC&linkCode=df0&hvadid=231905005622&hvpos=1o2&hvnetw=g&hvrand=15183082253646507203&hvpone=&hvptwo=&hvqmt=&hvdev=t&hvdvcmdl=&hvlocint=&hvlocphy=1006591&hvtargid=pla-422783055833&th=1&psc=1

Bit more bulky but about the best single screwdriver you can buy for a fiver! Normal hex screwdriver bits fit in it too

*edit
The older style is a bit more compact in the handle for stashing under a seat
 

Stew

Bushcrafter through and through
Nov 29, 2003
5,229
327
Aylesbury
stewartjlight-knives.com
Oh yea for anyone interested in a mini hex tool ratchet, I really don't think you can beat the quality and price of this tool, absolutely awesome little tool.
I do have a couple for work, and they are very popular amongst Formula one mechanics.

well worth the price and under the dreaded Duty costs from the USA.



https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/VIM-Tools-HBR3-Double-Ended-1-4-Hex-Bit-Ratchet/141308671449?epid=1311821751&hash=item20e6a735d9:g:TEEAAOxyrx5Tjp80:rk:3:pf:1&frcectupt=true
Nice! Very tempting.

I have one of these that I combo with a bit extender when needed and a pack of mixed bits.

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Innovative-Profile-Ratcheting-Screwdriver-Engineer/dp/B002L6HJ82/ref=mp_s_a_1_25?ie=UTF8&qid=1548715933&sr=8-25&pi=AC_SX236_SY340_QL65&keywords=right+angle+screwdriver&dpPl=1&dpID=41l17gRfJhL&ref=plSrch
 

Woody110

Mod
Mod
Mar 8, 2009
269
77
Leeds, Yorkshire
I always find the views on knife carry interesting.
The fact is that any knife with a locking blade is illegal to carry in public without lawful reason, as is one with a blade longer than 3 inches.
If you use it for a legitimate reason, such as for cutting a rope if you’re a climber, that’s fine, however if you’re in Tesco, you have no reason to need to cut a rope, so it becomes an offence to carry it.

The law really is quite simple, if you have it in your possession, it’s always an offence, however you may have a defence in law, which is for you to prove and not for the police/courts to prove you have no reason.

My advice is if you’re stop search, inform the officer you have a knife, tell them were it is, and explain why you have it.

I think 99% of people on BCUK would have a lawful reason.
 

daveO

Native
Jun 22, 2009
1,326
405
South Wales
The law really is quite simple, if you have it in your possession, it’s always an offence, however you may have a defence in law, which is for you to prove and not for the police/courts to prove you have no reason.
Actually that's not true (or shoudn't be). In UK law you are always innocent until proven guilty. Knife laws should be applied as such and it's up to the prosecution to prove your guilt not for you to prove your innocence. Obviously no one wants to go to the hassle of having to go to court to argue why a multi tool is needed for motorbike maintenance or whatever so it's always best to play it on the cautious side and stick to reasons that will convince a police officer if you're challenged about it.

What's funny is the case that is normally cited is the 'disabled caravanner' Rodney Knowles who was taken to court and prosecuted for having a 'swiss army knife' multitool in his car. It seemed like heavy handed use of the laws at the time and the press were all on his side. Any search on Google brings it up as the prime example of the stupidity of UK knife law.

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/crime/7593039/Disabled-caravanner-given-criminal-record-for-penknife-in-car.html

Further digging found the actual details:

"Supt Meakin said in his statement: "At 11.45pm on February 23, police
received a report that while Mr Knowles was in the Highweek Inn he had
made an alleged threat that he was going to use a knife to harm
someone.

"The police were advised that Mr Knowles had left the address in a
vehicle.

"The vehicle was stopped a short while later by my police officers,
where Mr Knowles was arrested for supplying a positive breath test. A
further test at the police station proved he was under the legal drink
drive limit."

"The vehicle was searched for a weapon and a Buck Whittaker lock knife
was found. The knife is illegal and has a serrated edge."

The same man was then arrested a year later for "eight rape charges, seven indecent assaults and 15 charges of indecency with a child".

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-devon-12300977
 
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sunndog

Full Member
May 23, 2014
3,379
369
derbyshire
I think that part was a direct quote from the police statement. It's misleading either way though.
And we wonder why people bandy the word 'illegal' around all the time with regards to knives like it's nothing.

You you never say driving a car is illegal.....which it is if you don't have licence tax insurance ECT.

That's basically the same saying a lock knife is illegal
 

Wildgoose

Full Member
May 15, 2012
247
36
Middlesex
Woody110 is correct. In this instance the burden of proof lies with the knife carrier, not the police or prosecution. It is for the carrier to prove that they had a legitimate purpose for having the knife.

IN the case mentioned, the police were called because an allegation was made that he threatened to use the knife to harm someone. This would make any knife fall into the "made, intended or adapted" offensive weapon category.

A walking pole could be deemed an offensive weapon if you hit someone with it or threatened to, as could any item.

self defence may be a defence in some circumstances but thats a whole different matter.
 
Last edited:

Woody110

Mod
Mod
Mar 8, 2009
269
77
Leeds, Yorkshire
Actually that's not true (or shoudn't be). In UK law you are always innocent until proven guilty. Knife laws should be applied as such and it's up to the prosecution to prove your guilt not for you to prove your innocence. Obviously no one wants to go to the hassle of having to go to court to argue why a multi tool is needed for motorbike maintenance or whatever so it's always best to play it on the cautious side and stick to reasons that will convince a police officer if you're challenged about it.

What's funny is the case that is normally cited is the 'disabled caravanner' Rodney Knowles who was taken to court and prosecuted for having a 'swiss army knife' multitool in his car. It seemed like heavy handed use of the laws at the time and the press were all on his side. Any search on Google brings it up as the prime example of the stupidity of UK knife law.

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/crime/7593039/Disabled-caravanner-given-criminal-record-for-penknife-in-car.html

Further digging found the actual details:

"Supt Meakin said in his statement: "At 11.45pm on February 23, police
received a report that while Mr Knowles was in the Highweek Inn he had
made an alleged threat that he was going to use a knife to harm
someone.

"The police were advised that Mr Knowles had left the address in a
vehicle.

"The vehicle was stopped a short while later by my police officers,
where Mr Knowles was arrested for supplying a positive breath test. A
further test at the police station proved he was under the legal drink
drive limit."

"The vehicle was searched for a weapon and a Buck Whittaker lock knife
was found. The knife is illegal and has a serrated edge."

The same man was then arrested a year later for "eight rape charges, seven indecent assaults and 15 charges of indecency with a child".

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-devon-12300977
Hi there daveO, I do get where your coming from, you’re innocent until proven guilty, yes that is correct, however the police only have to provide evidence to the courts that you were in possession of the artical. It would still be upto the accused to provide evidence of a defence.
 

Janne

Guest
Feb 10, 2016
12,368
2,251
Grand Cayman, Norway, Sweden
I am soon 58. I have only been stopped by the Police 6 times in my life. Speeding every time.

Do you guys get stopped that often so you have to worry about what you carry on the way spending some quality time in Nature?
 

Paul_B

Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)
Jul 14, 2008
4,039
454
Lancashire
I thought the offence is carrying the knife. The fair use argument is a defence but like any defence has to be successfully argued in court.

Or to put it this way. If the knife is taken from your possession then you are not innocent of carrying the knife. That leaves proof of the fair use exemption for you to prove.

Does that mean that technically you are guilty of carrying an illegal knife even with fair use proven but the fair use prevents a sanction for the offence? It's a bit confusing when you think about it all some more.

Of course IMHO you're unlikely to be searched for a knife going about it normal business in most parts of the UK. So legality could be irrelevant most of the time.
 

daveO

Native
Jun 22, 2009
1,326
405
South Wales
No the offense is carrying a knife without good reason. It's not always an offense to be carrying a knife as woody suggested but you will be challenged as such if stopped for any reason. Usually you would be expected to be able to justify the reason to a policeman when challenged and would only have to prove your innocence in court if the policeman was not convinced by your reasons. The hard part is knowing what a good reason is and knowing how strictly the law will be applied. A lot will depend on you and your personal history though.
 

Fadcode

Full Member
Feb 13, 2016
2,168
493
Cornwall
A lot of the Problem is the interpretation of the Law Regarding Knives, let me give you two examples, the First is taken from the Police Advice Site
https://www.police.uk/crime-prevention-advice/possession-of-weapons/

Knives
It is illegal to:
  • sell a knife of any kind to anyone under 18 years old (16 to 18 year olds in Scotland can buy cutlery and kitchen knives)
  • carry a knife in public without good reason - unless it’s a knife with a folding blade 3 inches long (7.62 cm) or less, e.g. a Swiss Army knife (a "lock knife" does not come into the category of "folding pocket knife" because it is not immediately foldable at all times)
  • carry, buy or sell any type of banned knife
  • use any knife in a threatening way (including a legal knife, such as a Swiss Army knife)
The first Item on the list informs you it is illegal to sell a knife to anyone under 18 years of Age, which is incorrect.
Item 4 covers what happened to Mr Knowles, and does not have a defense, because he had threatened t use the knife, even though he didn,t have it on show at the time, but was carrying it in a public place, his car..

The second example is taken from the Govt Site.
https://www.gov.uk/buying-carrying-knives.
Basic laws on knives
It’s illegal to:
  • sell a knife to anyone under 18, unless it has a folding blade 3 inches long (7.62 cm) or less
  • carry a knife in public without good reason, unless it has a folding blade with a cutting edge 3 inches long or less
  • carry, buy or sell any type of banned knife
  • use any knife in a threatening way (even a legal knife

This is in clear contradiction to item 1, on the Police site, about having to be 18 years of age, the other stipulation in Scotland that 16 to 18 year olds can buy Cutlery and Kitchen knives doesn't actually make sense, does this mean if you are 19 you cant buy cutlery in Scotland.?

The other thing i have noticed with many dealers is that they will advertise a Legal EDC Knife but stipulate you have to be 18 or over to buy it, even though the Law allows youngsters to buy it,( obviously providing it has a blade less than 3 inches and does not have a blade that locks).
Now if the Police are translating the Law in their own way as shown in their Item 1, and the Government have a different view on it, it is understandable why people have something to fear, no matter what their legal reason for carrying is.
These Laws not only need clarification but need to be carried out in the proper manner by the authorities, so that we may know exactly where we stand, whilst going about our business and leisure activities.
 
Last edited:

Wildgoose

Full Member
May 15, 2012
247
36
Middlesex
I think a lot of people try to interpret the law and find holes. The risk is that people rely on forums for advice.
I’ve always found the law around knives to be straight forward, U.K. knife law is actually common sense in my view:
If you need to carry a knife for religious or cultural dress, work or education you can, just be prepared to explain why you have it.
 
Jan 13, 2019
289
143
50
Gallifrey
Reasonable cause = being reasonable about why you have it on you. Being reasonable also means being polite; even friendly if asked.

Also, you stand more of a chance of finding a horse with a stone stuck in its hoof, a fishing net with a hole that needed fixing or a slightly loose hex nut, than a Police Constable with nothing better to do than stop you for having a multi tool in a belt pouch.

Just don’t go waving pliers at anyone in anger.
 
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