What are zombie knives and how could the law on them change?
Knife crime has surged of late, with police recording 282 murders involving knives or sharp blades over the 12 months leading up to March 2022
The government has announced plans to crackdown on lethal "zombie knives" and machetes, amid a rise in the use of the dangerous blades.
Knife crime has surged of late, with police recording 282 murders involving knives or sharp blades over the 12 months leading up to March 2022 – the highest total since records began in 1946.
"Today we’re announcing plans to ban dangerous zombie knives & machetes," tweeted policing minister Chris Philp on Tuesday.
"There is no legitimate use for these weapons, and they endanger the public. Violent crime is down 38% since 2010 according to the crime survey, but we’re determined to do even more."
As part of the crackdown, there will be a consultation on weapons such as machetes, and greater restrictions on purchasing.
Home secretary Suella Braverman said: “The government will be taking action to tackle the sale of machetes and other similar weapons in the near future.”
Previous Conservative home secretaries have taken action on so-called zombie knives, but the dangerous weapons continue to be used in fatal attacks across the country, prompting campaigners to call for tougher measures.
Shadow Home Office minister Sarah Jones said it was "too little, too late", adding. "A smokescreen to distract from their appalling record."
“Knife crime has risen by 70% since 2015 across the country, and the whole country is affected.”
What are zombie knives?
So-called zombie knives (also known as zombie-killer knives) are inspired by zombie films, feature a serrated edge and often have intricate carving detail or graphics depicting violence, while machetes are plainer long-bladed knives often used in agriculture work.
Read more: 'We've Heard This Before': Tory Minister Roasted Over Zombie Knife Announcement
Various rules have been introduced attempting to limit the sale of the weapons, including age restrictions, but it is currently not illegal to own them – provided they do not contain any words or graphics that suggest they are intended to be used for violence.
A Home Office spokeswoman said: “Too many young lives have been lost through serious violence and we have robust measures on the sale of offensive weapons online. We have already banned the sale and possession of a wide range of offensive weapons.
Watch: Criminals buying or selling machetes and zombie knives could face longer jail sentences
“We continue to keep knife legislation under review and are working closely with the National Police Chiefs’ Council to look at what more can we do to tackle knife crime, including the use of machetes in crimes.”
What are the proposed changes?
The consultation is reportedly considering a number of changes that are intended to limit the possession and use of zombie weapons and machetes.
As well as giving police increased powers to seize weapons they find in people's homes, the new rules are likely to look to increase the maximum penalty for manufacturing or supplying banned weapons, or selling to under 18s.
Read more: Machetes and zombie knives to be banned after loopholes leave police powerless
“It is far too easy to buy a zombie or other gruesome knives online," said Patrick Green, the CEO of knife charity Ben Kinsella Trust.
"As a result we are seeing more and more of these knives being carried on our streets and used to wound, disfigure and kill.
"It is clear that current legislation is not fit for purpose and until this is rectified the problem is only going to get worse."