Suella Braverman pledges to get machetes off Britain’s streets as the weapons are set to be outlawed under new plans announced by ministers

  • Machetes are to be outlawed except for legitimate use under new plans
  • Read more: Police find terrifying 2ft-long machete on 15-year-old boy 

Machetes will be outlawed under plans to be announced by ministers today.

Sales of the long bladed weapons will be banned except for legitimate use, such as gardening and outdoor pursuits.

A consultation paper, published by Home Secretary Suella Braverman, suggests the maximum punishment for selling, importing or manufacturing prohibited blades should be increased from six months’ imprisonment to two years. 

It also sets out proposals to increase the penalties for possessing the weapons.

Changes will ban a wider range of ‘zombie’ knives which were made illegal in 2016. 

The weapons – usually with a double, serrated edge – are currently banned only if they carry ‘images or words that suggest that it is to be used for the purpose of violence’.

A consultation paper, published by Home Secretary Suella Braverman, suggests the maximum punishment for selling prohibited blade should be increased

Legislation would be updated to cover all zombie-style weapons regardless of whether they feature words or images. 

READ MORE: Shocking moment machete-wielding thugs with balaclavas slash at each other in the street


Mrs Braverman said: ‘The thugs wielding these deadly knives aim to terrorise their victims and the public, and too often even carry out horrific or fatal attacks.

‘They are emboldened by the cowardly idea that carrying these blades inflates their own status and respect.

‘This can’t go on. These plans seek to give the police greater powers to seize and destroy these weapons and impose harsher penalties on the criminals selling them, keeping them off our streets and making communities safer.’

Current punishments for carrying a knife or other prohibited weapons carry sentences of up to four years – but do not distinguish between those caught carrying ordinary knives and offenders with banned types of blade.

Today’s consultation asks for views on whether the law should allow stiffer punishments for those wielding banned weapons.

It also proposes giving police new powers to seize blades found at someone’s home if there is a ‘reasonable belief that they will be used in serious crime’.

The paper suggests creating a new offence of ‘possession of a bladed article with the intention to endanger life or cause fear of violence’, which would carry tougher punishment than mere possession.

Sales of machetes will be banned except for legitimate use, such as gardening and outdoor pursuits [File image]

Welcoming the proposals, Patrick Green of the anti-knife crime charity the Ben Kinsella Trust said: ‘These weapons have no legitimate purpose and only serve to glamorise violence and intimidate others.

‘They are often used by gangs and criminals to inflict serious harm and create fear on our streets. By taking them off the streets, we will reduce the risk of serious violence and save lives.’

The consultation, which covers England and Wales and runs until June 6, says: ‘Machetes and other large, bladed tools such as scythes, billhooks and large outdoor knives have traditionally been used as tools in farming, gardening, clearing land and waterways, as well as in outdoor activities such as bushcraft, hunting and camping.

‘We are not proposing to ban machetes that have legitimate agricultural or other purposes, but we would be interested in views from respondents on the extent to which machetes and other large knives do still have a practical use in the UK.’

Blades which are prohibited under current law include flick knives, ‘butterfly’ knives, swordsticks and any object with a concealed blade, ‘stealth’ knives made of materials to avoid metal detectors, and ‘spiral’ knives with a helix-shaped blade which are designed to inflict larger stab wounds.

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