Combat knives facing ad ban

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The Independent Online
The Home Office is to reconsider banning advertisements and mail order sales of "combat" knives, it emerged yesterday.

Earlier, the Home Secretary, Michael Howard, pledged to ban the "Rambo" style knives if a definition could be found that distinguishes them from kitchen knives. This follows the growing political row between Mr Howard and Jack Straw, the shadow Home Secretary, over whether a ban is achievable. Labour has announced it is to launch a national petition to try to win a ban on combat knives.

Stung by adverse publicity at the weekend, the Home Office is to examine whether action can be taken to clamp down on the promotion of combat knives. The Government has already stated that no working definition of the weapons was available.

However, a Home Office source said: "The Government is not only looking at the design of knives, but also the control of advertising and sales. Officials are going to look at this again. But these also involve the complex area of defining what is a combat knife."

Home Office officials have unsuccessfully considered legislating according to blade length, sharpness and serration.

The police, barristers and knife experts all cast doubt on whether a working definition was possible and pointed out that most attacks are carried out with kitchen and craft knives.

The Police Superintendents' Association, which last week suggested it could come up with a definition, yesterday backed down from that assertion.

Mr Howard told the Commons yesterday that senior police officers agreed with his view that it was impossible to find a workable definition of a combat knife.