Offensive Weapons

Offensive Weapons

Bladed/Sharply Pointed and other Weapons

This notification is intended to update schools on current Police/Home Office advice relating to incidents where bladed or sharply pointed articles, or any other offensive weapons, are found in the possession of pupils at school.

What is an Offensive Weapon?

An Offensive Weapon is defined as "any article made or adapted for use to causing injury to a person, or intended by the person having it with him for such use". (S1 Prevention of Crime Act 1953)

As such there are three main categories of article to consider:

  1. “Made” – Any article created specifically for causing injury e.g. knuckle duster
  2. “Adapted” – Any article modified in order that it can cause injury e.g. ruler with razor blade attached
  3. “Intended” – Any article an individual intends to use to cause harm e.g. hammer

Persons are prohibited from having with them in a public place any article which has a blade or is sharply pointed. This prohibition has been extended to cover school premises under Section 139A of the same Act.

In addition to prohibited articles as defined by the law, schools may also ban any other item, for example mobile telephones, provided that it is detailed under the school rules or “behaviour policy”, which should be communicated to parents/guardians and pupils.

Reporting incidents to Police

Recent guidance from the Home Office has determined that possession of knives and other offensive weapons within a school should not be dealt with under the Schools Protocol and National Crime Recording Standards (NCRS)as has previously been the case.

In all cases where possession of a knife or other offensive weapon occurs within school, a crime will be recorded by police and investigation carried out. The offence should no longer be dealt with purely under school rules, policies and procedures

Schools should report all cases where pupils are found to have knives in their possession to the Police, ideally a Safer Schools Officer if available, to ensure that any offences are investigated fully.


For further DfE guidance, please see the following links:

Page owned by Kate Hopton, last updated on 26/11/2020. This page has been viewed 7,433 times.