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What steps should you take if you find a knife or bladed weapon in a public place?

What steps should you take if you find a knife or bladed weapon in a public place?

One question, members of our team are occasionally asked during our engagement sessions in the community are what practical steps people should take if they find a knife in a public place and are worried that it may be used to harm someone.

If you find a knife which you think has been hidden intentionally for possible use in the future, call the police on 101 as soon as you can. Leave the knife in place. Follow the police’s advice. They may ask you to safely remove the knife and to store it in a clean plastic bag in a secure location until it can be collected or taken to your local police station.

If you are worried that the knife may be linked to a criminal offence locally – it may appear to have traces of blood on it for example – it is critical that you don’t touch the knife and that you leave it where it is.  Call the police on 999 immediately and stay in the area where you found the knife until the police arrive at the scene, unless you feel unsafe doing that.  If the weather is poor, you might be advised to cover the knife to preserve any evidence for the police investigation.

If you find an unwanted kitchen knife in a place where there is no suggestion that it may be  linked to a crime (for example, on the floor near a bin store), there may be no need for police involvement at all and the knife can be recycled responsibly by handing it to waste collection teams or safely disposed of in a recycling centre/bin.

Remember, in England, it is illegal to carry a knife in public without good reason, unless it is a knife with a folding blade that is three inches long or less or to use any knife in a threatening way, even if it is a legal one. For more information on the law on carrying knives, see https://www.gov.uk/buying-carrying-knives.