'Spring assisted knives' are not illegal to import
In the last two years I have represented a number of law abiding importers who import ‘spring assisted knives’. These are knives that usually open when pressure is applied to a small button on the top of the blade. The current restriction on ‘flick knives’ in the Restriction of Offensive Weapons Act 1959 prohibits knives as follows:
(a) any knife which has a blade which opens automatically by hand pressure applied to a button, spring or other device in or attached to the handle of the knife, sometimes known as a “flick knife” or “flick gun”; or
(b )any knife which has a blade which is released from the handle or sheath thereof by the force of gravity or the application of centrifugal force and which, when released, is locked in place by means of a button, spring, lever, or other device, sometimes known as a “gravity knife”
It is illegal to import any knife that falls within that definition. As can be seen, the use of a button on the blade of the knife is not controlled. A recent change of policy at Border Force had caused a number of shipments of spring assisted knives to be seized. As a result of a case at Nottingham Magistrates Court where I represented the importer it was decided that such knives do not fall within the definition in the 1959 Act. In a subsequent case relating to similar items Border Force decided not to procede with Condemnation Proceedings and restored the goods to my client company. The Border Force solicitors have confirmed that they have changed their guidance with respect to such items.
If you are the owner of any goods seized by Border Force it is important to respond to a Notice of Seizure promptly and correctly, you may lose the goods if you do not make the correct claim within the time allowed, usually 28 days. Contact me for further advice.