Knife Laws: England, Scotland

Oct 11, 1998
Hi! I have a friend who will be vacationing in England and Scotland for two weeks. He would like me to find out the knife laws (fixed, folding, autos, blade length limits, serrations...etc.) in the United Kingdom as well as any regulations in the airports there.

If anyone has any experience or knowledge in these areas, please help me.

In some place it is illegal to have anything pointy on you that could be used as a weapon except if you are using it for work. Box cutters, etc...Also it is illegal to sell knives as being useful for defensive purposes, and it is even illegal to sell material that tells how to use a knife for defensive purposes. I think that this was mostly London.


It is not a matter of whether or not you are paranoid, it is a matter of whether or not you are paranoid enough.

AKTI # A000348
About 3 years ago two of my students were arrrested in London for using kitchen knife to cut fruits on farmers market. I took us many hours and lot of arguing before they let them go. At that time I got the impression that even regular toothpick is considered a weapon. So if your friend carries a knife he will be better off not using it in public.
I must sound like a broken record to many of you that have heard this before but as far as I know here goes:

No automatics (if you are casught with an auto, you will go to jail) they have been ilegal since the 19somthing offensive weapons act.

You are not allowed to carry any kinfe without a good reason (self defence not being a good reason- dont even mention it) ie. a carpet layer having a knife etc.

the exception being a "small folding pocket knife with a cutting edge of less than 76mm" thats just under 3" to you over the water
However some police forces & courts seem to think that this means that the blade can't lock.

On a daily basis to work and generally around civilisation I always carry a sub 3" locking folder and will argue the toss if I have to.

If you friend is going out in the wilds (such as there is over here) then he should have good reason to have a bigger folder or a fixed blade.

I don't know if the rules in Scotland are any different but if he wants to wear national dress ie a kilt he can then carry a large dagger in his sock, I cant remember what they are called but national dress is an exception to all the rules.

Serrations are not an issue as regards the law however as I am sure you are aware they tend to scare sheeple.

The most important one for your friend is airports. Do not try and take anything with a locking blade into the secure side of the gate (I lost a CF plain edge dragonfly at Gatwick last summer)

If your friend wants any more info of help drop me amil on my workd address

The knife carried in the right hose top when wearing a kilt is called a Skein Du, or black knife. The blade is triangular, flat ground, and about three inches long.

A number of places sell pocket combs or bottle openers with the top couble of inches shaped to look like the handle of a skein du to wear in places where knives are not allowed.
All major political parties in the UK are dedicated to making society safe by removing instruments that can hurt people. Measures that are expected to be introduced in the Offensive Objects Act of Y2K include:

- Only construction workers with union cards may possess hammers and other hard heavy things appropriate to their trade, and only on the job site or in locked storage.

- Food may only be sold pre-cut to bite-size portions, or as puree or gruel, to eliminate the need for deadly kitchen knives.

- All property owners will be required to remove all loose stones from their property, or cement them together as walls or walkways.

- The only really controversial provision will be the outlawing of garden tools, since the British are famous for neat and orderly gardens, but plant rights activists have long demanded that vegetation be allowed to grow unchecked.

This is a real rumor. I made it up myself.

AKTI Member # SA00001
I believe you may have missed one of the proposed Y2K rules:

-Knitting or crochet will only be allowed in public without use of a needle. Needles must be restricted to the owner's home.


AKTI Member #A000094

Honey, I swear that's the last knife I'm going to buy...

Would a regular SAK, like the Tinker be okay?
The blade when measured by the length of the edge or the entire blade is under 3 inches.

I am planning a trip to the UK next year and am already sweating leaving all my knives at home. Be interesting to see what a utopian society is like.

"Women bring life into the world
and much death, for they sway the
destinies of men." -Anneas

Try the closest British Consulate and get the information right from the horses . . . mouth?
Slaves are allowed to carry knives only when required to for their work, and then only when at work or traveling directly to and from work. The basic principle of totalitarianism is everything that is not required is forbidden.

Even in totalitarian jurisdictions, though, not everyone is a slave. The trick is to convince the policeman or other petty authority you're a master; then they'll fawn all over you. Dress and props can help -- a leather-bound notebook or clipboard or portfolio is a scepter of authority, wave it at them and they'll kowtow -- but it's mostly a matter of manner and speech; I've done it wearing a dirty T-shirt and jeans (even masters dress down sometimes ... even masters like to do garden work and such -- of course when a master does it it isn't work; it's a hobby...).

Policemen are low in the hierarchy of a repressive society and they know it. They are very good at sizing people up fast and expert at going from ferocious bully to fawning lapdog in seconds. Sometimes a cop pulls me over when I'm driving and opens his mouth and starts to be very domineering and bullying but before he draws another breath he'll be slobbering all over me apologizing. It's hard to explain how to do it ... it's mostly a matter of attitude; the transformation often happens before I even speak. It might help to imagine he's a little kid dressed up in a policeman costume and playing cop and you're indulging him ... that's basically the attitude, that you're indulging him and treating him as if he were an equal. You're willing to take a moment to help out the officers of the law because they are your servants; their job is to protect and serve you -- not the people, only your kind of people, the people who are at the top of the hierarchy like you are. Whatever you do don't project the image of an insubordinate inferior -- for instance, don't argue with him whatever you do -- a master never argues with a slave. It would be beneath you to argue with a mere policeman. If he wants to make a fool of himself he's welcome to; you won't demean yourself by trying to justify yourself to him. You'll explain to the judge, who is more your kind of people, and then the judge will deal with him....

If you're young or female or the wrong race or one of those categories it can be more difficult, but it's still possible. People who are young, female, etc., often have powerful friends or family. Even in the US some black and asian and hispanic people are powerful politicians, lawyers, etc. No matter what you look like or how you're dressed you could be much more powerful than a common policeman and he is trying to determine whether you are in the first minute or faster -- he is afraid you might be a powerful person in the social hierarchy and he might offend you and get himself into big trouble. The more repressive the jurisdiction the more scared the petty officials like policemen are. You can take advantage of that.

Don't take an attitude that you are asking a favor of him ... you're doing him a favor by even taking a moment to speak to him -- of course you don't mind doing it, you're always willing to do anything you can to help out our public servants in their tasks....

You are not offended if you're suspected of a crime for a moment because you know it's only a momentary confusion and you know he's working for you, for your benefit -- you're not going to punish your servant for doing his job ... of course you expect the confusion to be cleared up quickly. If it isn't, well, incompetence in a servant is intolerable.

Consider this carefully and prepare yourself in advance. If you screw it up it can backfire on you and you can get yourself into big trouble. If you do it right, though....

-Cougar Allen :{)

Do you think the Cricket-as-money-clip ploy will work? I was also planning on checking through a SAK. We'll be flying into Glasgow and then to Dublin. I don't know if the smaller airports will be better or worse. I've considered wearing a kilt. My wife says I have the legs for it.




It is not a matter of whether or not you are paranoid, it is a matter of whether or not you are paranoid enough.

AKTI # A000348
Jack -

Money clips - although it's likely they wouldn't be looked twice at, I've never seen them in use in England. We tend to just use wallets.

For UK trips I'd say don't carry your (3" or less) knife onto the plane, and don't swing them around too much in public - but other than that just carry on as usual. In the extremely unlikely event of any hastle, just stand firm, like Cougar said. Although the laws are ridiculous, I've never had any problems, and don't know anyone who has.

Happy hunting ;o


[This message has been edited by Kallisti (edited 05 August 1999).]
James - Like the hummor (unfortunately likely to come true in the near future)

chrisjohn - You should not have a problem with a SAK, as too the length issue, I used to think it was blade length under 3" but a poster I saw in a police station said cutting edge less that 76mm. Most of my daily carry knives are Spyderco's as they do loads that are under 3" and I can carry and open them left handed.

Donovan - the cricket has a locking blade so acroding to my latest findings, ie having lost one, I would not try to get one through an airport as carry on. As to smaller airports I flew out of Stanstead last september with a small Bob Terzuola Spyderco and a multitool in my carry on and was not even asked about it after it had gone through the x ray but as Ion't want to loose any more knives, or get real grief if flying with my wife, I now put any locking blades in the hold.

It is not where you are flying too but getting into the secure part of the airport to fly from.