BSU Offensive Weapons Policy

The majority of young people the BSU works with do not carry weapons and would not condone others doing so. It is part of the role of the youth worker to make our projects safe areas for all who come to them, where the carrying of weapons is not acceptable. This guidance sets out the issues and recommends action to take when incidents arise.


‘An offensive weapon can be either an article made or adapted to cause injury or an article intended to cause injury.’

Some articles, such as knives and knuckle dusters are clearly offensive weapons. Other articles, such as ‘Zombie’ knives, screwdrivers, baseball bats etc. could have legitimate uses in activities. However, if these activities are not on the programme, the articles become more suspicious and should probably not be carried. It would be useful to have a poster at the project entrance saying:

‘No-one is allowed to enter these premises carrying articles which could be used as offensive weapons.’

Penalties for possessions of weapons:

  • Carrying a knife: maximum penalty 2 years imprisonment and/or unlimited fines.
  • Carrying a weapon: maximum penalty 4 years imprisonment and/or unlimited fines.
  • Lower penalties apply to 10-17 year olds; additional penalties may be imposed on parents.


Action to be taken by staff:

As a general rule, the police should be called to deal with any incident believed to involve a weapon. There may be exceptions, where in the judgement of the staff, the circumstances are innocent and there is no suggestion that the article might be used as a weapon. It would be appropriate to ask the young person to give up the article to staff. This could then be handed into a Police station from where the young person can reclaim it, if they can show legitimate reason for possessing it.

If the police are called, they may enter the premises and search for the weapon. They may seize and retain the weapon and may arrest the young person involved. They may also require witness statements from the staff involved. Police do not require a search warrant or the permission of the project leader or any other person to enter premises in search of a weapon. They may also use reasonable force to enter, if necessary.

It is clear that building constructive and co-operative relationships with local police will help defuse and resolve situations which can be very tense.

Youth workers do not have legal powers to search young people. They might ask the young person to turn out their pockets but cannot enforce this. The proactive steps you can take are:

  • Put a clear sign on the door saying that police will be called if there is a suspicion that a weapon has been brought on to the premises
  • Where emptying pockets is a condition of entry to a project (e.g. a special event) then a sign to this effect should be displayed outside.
  • Use licensed security staff for large events
  • Always try to stop problems at the entrance to a building rather than inside where all other young people are gathered
  • A risk assessment should always be carried out after an incident and procedures reviewed in light of the findings.

All incidents should be recorded in the Projects / Centre Incident book.



This policy is reviewed regularly and updated as required.

Adopted on:…………………………… 15/11/2022

next reviewed:………………………… 09/11/2023


Useful Contacts

Wembley Police Station

603 Harrow Road

Telephone – 0300 123 1212

Kilburn Police Station

38 Salusbury Road

Telephone – 0300 123 1212

Harlesden Police Station

76 Craven Park
NW10 8RJ

Telephone – 0300 123 1212

Willesden Green Police Station

96 High Road
Willesden Green
NW10 2PP

Telephone – 0300 123 1212


Telephone – 0800 555 111