Knife crimes

Knife crime devastates the lives of victims and their families and brings misery and fear to our communities. We need to work together to ensure that everyone understands that carrying a knife can easily end in tragedy. By raising awareness of the consequences, Northumbria Police hopes that people will make the right decision and not carry a knife.

Individuals who carry a knife often say it is out of fear and to protect themselves. We want people to know those who carry a knife or offensive weapon are actually putting themselves at greater risk of being seriously injured or killed themselves. Not only that, carrying a knife or offensive weapon is against the law and you could face up to four years in prison.

Northumbria Police is also warning the friends and families who know their loved ones carry knives could also be prosecuted and sent to prison under the law of ‘joint enterprise’.

We all have a role to play in tackling knife crime, by making the right choices we can save lives and keep our streets safe. Report anyone you know who carries a knife illegally.

It has been found that people aged between 15-19 are the most likely group to be in possession of knifes. Those carrying a knife may not have the intentions to kill someone but that’s the reality of what could happen. In many cases innocent people have been the victims.

Northumbria Police is working hard to combat knife crime alongside other partner agencies and communities. As a force we have found the most effective approach to tackle knife crime is through early intervention, education and enforcement. Our aim is to educate the public, particularly the younger generation. It’s about making them aware of the consequences, to make positive decisions, choose never to carry a knife and to report knife crime.


What is the law?

Across England, it is illegal to:

Sell a knife to anyone under 18, unless it is a knife with a folding blade that is three inches long or less

  • Carry any sharp or bladed instrument in a public place without good reason - except for a folding pocket - knife that has a blade that is less than 7.62 cm or 3 inches).
  • A lock knife is NOT a folding pocket knife and therefore it is illegal to carry these knives regardless of the length of the blade
  • Carry, buy or sell any banned knife
  • Use any knife in a threatening way, even it is a legal one
  • If you carry a knife in your vehicle you could also be prosecuted for the offence.

What are the consequences if found carrying a knife in public?

The police will arrest you and the penalty for committing this offence is a minimum of a six-month prison sentence, or maximum of two years in prison and/or a fine.

What if I use a knife on a daily basis for work?

You could be at risk of committing an offence if you carry knives you use for work when you are not working. Our advice is to leave your work knives at home or at the workplace.

Could I be searched?

Yes you could! The police can stop and search any person, vehicle, and anything in or on the vehicle for certain items.

However, before they stop and search they must have reasonable grounds for suspecting that they will find:

  • Stolen goods
  • An offensive weapon or an item with a blade or point
  • Any article made or adapted for use in certain offences, for example a burglary or theft
  • Items that could damage or destroy property; e.g. spray paint cans. The police officer carrying out the search must provide their identity and station as well as explaining to you the grounds of the search before it starts. 

How do I to report knife crime?

When reporting knife crime or someone carrying a knife you will be asked a number of questions relating to the incident. We will ask you to explain what has happened, when it happened and if there is any evidence that can help our investigation.

You will then be advised about what will happen next. This may involve a visit from a police officer. If appropriate, officers will contact your neighbours to see if they saw or heard anything.Officers will look at all possible lines of enquiry and carry out an investigation to try and identify the offender or offenders and bring them to justice.

What should I do if I know someone is carrying a knife?

First of all - If you believe there is an immediate threat to life or if you have just seen someone carrying a knife, please dial 999 and report it to us.

If you suspect of anyone of carrying a knife or an offensive weapon in a public place you should tell someone, this could be a:

  • Police Officer, Police Community Support Officer or Community Warden
  • If you are still at school, tell a member of school staff or a parent
  • If you want to remain anonymous ring Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.
  • We understand that it may be difficult for you, but it is important you do so, so that we can help take knives off your streets.

What if I have found a Knife:

If you find a knife or a weapon that you believe has been used in a crime, we would ask you to call us on 101 immediately. Please provide of where it is, but do not touch it.

If you do not believe the weapon has been used in a crime, you should dispose it at one of the Knife Disposal Bin.

Where are the knife disposal bins located?

Forth Banks 

Middle Engine Lane 



What if I know someone who is selling knives illegally?

If you believe that a shop is selling knives to people under 18, or if you believe it is selling illegal knives in the UK, please contact us.

Advice for parents/guardians

Parents and guardians are being encouraged to look out for signs that they may be carrying a knife and talk to them about the very real dangers. It is also making them aware that they are more likely to be stabbed themselves and on occasions their own knife has been grabbed and used against them in an attack.

What warning signs should i look out for?

  • Has your child withdrawn from the family and/or school?
  • Is your child’s school or college reporting worrying changes in behaviour, academic achievement or attendance?
  • Has he or she lost interest in positive activities such as sports clubs?
  • Does he or she stay out unusually late without giving a reason and is vague about his/her whereabouts?
  • Has he or she stopped seeing old friends and started hanging out with a new group?
  • Are they secretive about the contents of their bag?
  • Are they defensive if you ask what is in their possession or if they’re hiding anything?
  • Has their attitude changed about carrying knives/weapons? For example, justifying it by saying people carry them for self-defence?
  • Have any items gone missing from the kitchen, tool box or garage?
  • Have you found a weapon hidden amongst their possessions?

How can I dispose of a weapon?

We are asking for help and support in our fight and encourage others to surrender their knives. This can be done at one of the many Knife Disposal Bins across the force area.

The bins are only public if Northumbria Police advertises an amnesty – otherwise knives can be handed in anonymously into front offices at police station and we will dispose of them.

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