Sentencing guidelines for the offence of sale of knives to persons under 18

The Sentencing Council has today published, in accordance with section 120 of the Coroners and Justice Act 2009, sentencing guidelines for the offence of sale of knives etc to persons under 18 which will come into effect on 1 April 2023. This follows a consultation in June to August 2022.

There are two sentencing guidelines for the offence contrary to section 141A of the Criminal Justice Act 1988: one for individuals and one for organisations. The offence carries a maximum of six months’ imprisonment (or, in the case of an organisation, an unlimited fine) and can only be dealt with in magistrates’ courts.

The guidelines apply to sentencing retailers who fail to ensure that adequate safeguards are in place to prevent the sale of knives to under 18s either in store or online. There were previously no sentencing guidelines for this offence. The guidelines are available on the Sentencing Council website

As ever, the Council is very grateful to those who responded to the consultations and the helpful suggestions we received have resulted in modifications to the original proposals.

Alongside the guidelines we are publishing a document setting out the response to the consultation and other related documents which can be found here.