Sale of knives etc to persons under 18

Closed 24 Aug 2022

Opened 1 Jun 2022


What is this consultation about?

The Sentencing Council is proposing to issue two guidelines for the offence of the sale of knives etc to persons under 18 contrary to section 141A of the Criminal Justice Act 1988; one for sentencing individuals and one for sentencing organisations.

What is the Sentencing Council?

The Sentencing Council is the independent body responsible for developing sentencing guidelines which courts in England and Wales must follow when passing a sentence. The Council consults on its proposed guidelines before they come into force and makes changes to the guidelines as a result of consultations.

Why are we doing this?

The offence of selling knives to persons under the age of 18 is prosecuted by Trading Standards departments within local authorities and almost all prosecutions are as a result of test purchases. In 2020 the Council received a submission on behalf of the London Borough of Barking and Dagenham regarding the need for a sentencing guideline for this offence. The submission argued that sentences being passed for larger organisations did not adequately reflect the seriousness of the offence and the means of the organisation.

Responding to the consultation

This consultation  has been produced in order to seek views from as many people as possible interested in the sentencing of this offence.

Through this consultation process, the Council is seeking views on:

  • the principal factors that make the offence in the draft guidelines more or less serious; 
  • the additional factors that should influence the sentence; the types and severity of sentence that should be passed;
  • whether there are any issues relating to disparity of sentencing and/or broader matters relating to equality and diversity that the guidelines could and should address; and
  • anything else you think should be considered.

We would like to hear from anyone who uses sentencing guidelines in their work or who has an interest in sentencing. We would also like to hear from individuals and organisations representing anyone who could be affected by the proposals including:

  • victims of crime and their families;
  • defendants and their families;
  • those under probation supervision or youth offending teams/supervision;
  • those with protected characteristics: age, disability, gender reassignment, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief, sex and sexual orientation.

Alongside this consultation, the Council has produced a statistical bulletin and a resource assessment. These can be found on the Sentencing Council’s website:

Following the conclusion of this consultation exercise, a response will be published at:

We will treat all responses as public documents in accordance with the Freedom of Information Act and we may attribute comments and include a list of all respondents’ names in any final report we publish. If you wish to submit a confidential response, you should contact us before sending the response. PLEASE NOTE – We will disregard automatic confidentiality statements generated by an IT system.

In addition, responses may be shared with the Justice Committee of the House of Commons.

Our privacy notice sets out the standards that you can expect from the Sentencing Council when we request or hold personal information (personal data) about you; how you can get access to a copy of your personal data; and what you can do if you think the standards are not being met.


  • Local authorities
  • Legal professionals
  • Judiciary
  • Police
  • Prosecutors
  • Victims
  • Legal professional bodies
  • Academics


  • Criminal justice