Are Truncheons Legal in the UK?

By | June 7, 2021

Are truncheons legal in the UK?

This is a subject that there is some misleading information on Google about, predictably sourced from Quora.

Are Truncheons Legal in the UK?

A classic wooden police-style truncheon is perfectly legal to own in the UK. It is not an offensive weapon by definition in UK law, in and of itself. It is not an offensive weapon unless you are using it as one, or intend to use it as one. It is no more an offensive weapon than a baseball bat, a cricket bat or a rounders bat.

One can read the UK law on the definition of an offensive weapon >here<.

Of that law, Section 141 of the Criminal Justice Act 1988 (offensive weapons), paragraph 1, subsection (j) says only this about truncheons:

“the weapon sometimes known as a “telescopic truncheon”, being a truncheon which extends automatically by hand pressure applied to a button, spring or other device in or attached to its handle;”

That means one of these:

Which is what the UK police carry nowadays (they haven’t used wooden truncheons since 1994).

It does not mean and does not refer to, a classic wooden police truncheon of the design we sell.

Offensive weapons can be split into two categories:

  • Items that are offensive weapons as defined in the law.
  • Items that become offensive weapons by being used as one.

So a swordstick, knuckleduster or telescopic truncheon is an offensive weapon as defined in Section 141 of the Criminal Justice Act 1988. That means you could get in trouble if you are out and about with those items.

Items like a piece of turned wood, such as a table leg, snooker cue, baseball bat, fishing priest, or indeed a simple wooden truncheon aren’t offensive weapons unless being used offensively.

You could certainly use one as an offensive weapon, depending on where you are and what you are doing with it, and that is the point where it becomes a legal issue. Our other article Is It Legal to Carry a Wooden Truncheon in the UK? discusses the law as we understand it around truncheons and offensive weapons in much more detail.

So, are truncheons legal in the UK? The simple answer would be yes.

If you want a traditional British police-style wooden truncheon, we sell an exact replica of a 1960s Leeds City Police one with a leather lanyard at a very reasonable price. Click the button below to find out more.


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