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Ash
Ash, Solicitor
Category: Property Law
Satisfied Customers: 10916
Experience:  Solicitor with 5+ years experience
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I am a 46 yr old female, Along with my partner I run a small

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I am a 46 yr old female, Along with my partner I run a small passenger transport business (minibuses (PSV "o" licence) and Hackney carriages (licensed by Ashford, Kent) I also do occasional coach driving. Much of the work I do requires me to have an enhanced criminal record check, and I am concerned that loss of my clean record, even by a caution will prevent me doing much of this work.
Last week, whilst working as coach driver to a party of primary school children, upon entering the Warner bros studio tours in Hertfordshire (Harry potter world) the security bag search located my Swiss Army knife in my handbag. I was informed that they must confiscate this from me, but as they could not explain what authority they had to do this, nor were they willing to provide me with a receipt I requested that the police be called. I was allowed to enter the studios to look around while awaiting the police, but as it was fast approaching my scheduled departure time I telephoned 101 to see if they were in fact planning to turn up. A short while later two officers attended and stated due to the size of the main blade (I guess approx 3.5", although I have never measured it, and neither did they), and it being a locking type, that they would be justified in arresting me, and that they would be confiscating it. I asked if there was any opportunity for me to appeal. I was told that if they reported it as a crime I would receive a crime number and I would have to be interviewed by the police, so I asked that this be done.
The next day I received a call from one of the attending officers asking me to go to Rickmansworth police station (over 115 miles from my home) for the interview. I have arranged this for tomorrow evening, but will postpone it if I feel I can benefit from any extra preparation or information (I have requested the services of the duty solicitor)
I have read your website page about possession of offensive weapons and feel that although I undoubtedly was in possession of this object in a public place I would have to rely on it being regarded as having an innocent purpose.
I said to the manager who called for the police that I use it mainly for food preparation, and the officer who took my details stated this to me, and I confirmed this. No further attempt was made to find out why I had this object with me.
I would usually return it to my vehicle when security searching is taking place, but on this occasion I completely forgot about it.
Am I obliged to travel to Hertfordshire for this interview to take place? The officer who phoned said if they asked my local constabulary to do it they would not co-operate, and would laugh at the request!!
I am told the interview has two possible outcomes:
1. I be offered a police caution
2. The details would be passed to the courts, and it would be for them to decide if a prosecution would be in the public interest.
What do you think are my chances of avoiding a blot on my DBS check, and what advice would you offer to this end?
Kind regards
Tracey Ruck
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Property Law
Expert:  Ash replied 1 year ago.

Hello Tracey my name is ***** ***** I will help you.

Do you have any other matters on your criminal record?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
No nothing at all.
Expert:  Ash replied 1 year ago.

Just to be clear the blade is MORE than 3 inches long? Are you sure it can be locked and not just folded?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
As I said, I've never measured it, and neither did the police, but yes I think it is more than 3", and yes, it locks open and it is necessary to deploy a sliding button on the side to close it.
Expert:  Ash replied 1 year ago.

Thanks, ***** ***** this is illegal without good reason.

There are several options as you have said:
1) A caution - but you have to ADMIT the offence

2) Court - that is for the Police to decide. The Court do NOT decide whether to prosecute, but the Police do.

In reality unless you have a reasonable excuse then you are likely to get a blot on your DBS check. This is because knife crime is taken very seriously indeed.

I realise this is not at the extreme end but if you have no convictions you may be offered a caution.

This will show on your DBS check for a limited time. But some offences are also filtered after a period of time and wont show.

As the offence took place in Herts then yes you have to travel there, that is normal procedure. If you have a good excuse you may be ok - I note you say you use it for food preparation, but unless you have containers of food etc with you, its unlikely they would accept this excuse.

I am sorry if this is not necessarily the answer you want and certainly not the one I want to give you, but I have a duty to be honest.

Can I clarify anything for you about this today please?
Alex

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
The officers I met were not interested in, and did not ask me about my immediate reasons for having it. I met them in the reception area of the studio building and had neither my handbag or work bag with me at that time, as I had left them on my coach. Is this, or any other procedural anomaly, likely to be of any help?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Also if I were to try to demonstrate that I had good reason to have it with me would I be required to prove the need for a blade that locks as opposed to one that did not, and likewise a blade of 3.5" as opposed to one of only 3", or only to show good reason to have a knife of any type suitable to the use I intended.
Expert:  Ash replied 1 year ago.

No, thats normal. But it all comes down to whether you had a reasonable excuse. If you say you use it for food when you did not have any, then this does not help you.

But you need to show you had a reasonable excuse.

That is the key - does that help? Alex

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
But since they did not ask, nor look, how can I prove I had food, or they prove I did not?
Expert:  Ash replied 1 year ago.

It would be for the Police to show it folded and for the Police to show you did NOT have a reasonable excuse.

The burden is on the Police.
Can I clarify anything for you? Alex

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Nearly done with my stupid questions!!! I won't expect an answer before the morning.
If I am offered a caution will that be there and then, immediately following the interview? and, if offered then or at a later stage, would I have to make an immediate decision?
Also, in your last post you said "It would be for the Police to show it folded", I'm not quite sure what you meant by that.
Finally, having requested the duty solicitor, am I likely to have an opportunity to discuss how I should approach the interview beforehand?
Thanks, ***** *****
Expert:  Ash replied 1 year ago.

Generally you need to make a decision there and then yes.

Ok - the Police would need to prove (if it went to Court) that the knife was above the legal limit and also that it locked. Its for the Police to show the blade was illegal, not for you to show that it wasnt
Doesnt that clarify?
Alex

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Thanks Alex. I think that's all.
Kind regards
Tracey
Expert:  Ash replied 1 year ago.

If I could invite you to rate my answer before you go today please, otherwise the site does not credit me for the time spent with you today. Thanks and good luck. Alex

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