Police arrest 18 across Northamptonshire in less than four months under new laws on weapons
Change to Offensive Weapons Act makes it illegal to keep even decorative swords at home
Police arrested 18 people in Northamptonshire in less than four months since new laws on having potentially deadly weapons at home came into force.
Changes to the Offensive Weapons Act this year extended a ban on flick knives and items with long blades to include private settings as well as outside in public.
The move was supposed to give police more ammunition in the fight against knife crime. But the list of prohibited items now also includes some decorative swords and traditional Japanese weapons often collected by martial arts fans.
Eighteen people have so far been arrested in the county in just four months since rules changed in July.
Superintendent Adam Ward insisted: "Some of the items mentioned in the legislation are advertised as decorative pieces when in reality they could be used to do a great deal of harm.
“Although the majority of people don’t carry knives in public, it is really important they are aware of these changes to the Offensive Weapons Act to ensure that they are not unintentionally committing an offence.
“We are committed to both preventing people carrying knives in the first place as well as taking robust action against offenders.
“These new measures will go some way in helping to take weapons off our streets by making it more difficult for people to get hold of knives and other dangerous items in the first place."
Seven arrests were made in Northampton after searches of private addresses as part of investigations into unrelated matters.
Two each were in Wellingborough, Corby, Kettering, East Northamptonshire and South Northamptonshire. The other was in the Daventry area.
Before July's changes, anyone could legally own curved swords with blades larger than 50cm, flip knives and knuckledusters as long as they were not taken out in public.
One routine check on a property in a village near Northampton during September uncovered a sword, sheath knife and 'zombie' knife. Telescopic truncheons and knuckledusters have also been seized.
Maximum penalties for having a weapon are up to four years in prison and unlimited fines. Repeat offenders are automatically jailed.
Neighbourhood policing teams hold regular amnesty events across the county where residents can hand in knives or other weapons safely and without repercussions.