A British man was arrested Saturday after he was found walking the streets of Dunfermline, Scotland, with a potato peeler.
Scott Walker, 39, appeared before the Dunfermline Sheriff Court Monday, where he was charged under Criminal Law Act 1995 for carrying “an article which had a blade or which was sharply pointed, namely a potato peeler,” the Dunfermline Press reported.
The man faces up to four years in prison for carrying the kitchen utensil in public without good reason.
Walker’s defense solicitor said in court Monday her client “suffers from significant learning difficulties which have been lifelong.”
It is illegal in the United Kingdom to carry a knife longer than three inches in public “without good reason.” What constitutes a “good reason” to carry a knife is a decision made on a case-by-case basis by the courts.
“A court will decide if you’ve got a good reason to carry a knife or a weapon if you’re charged with carrying it illegally,” the UK government states on its website.
The arrest comes amid a nationwide rise in violent crime for the UK. More than 60 people have been murdered in stabbings in London so far in 2018, prompting Mayor Sadiq Khan to initiate a new “knife control” initiative to keep sharply pointed objects off the streets.
“No Excuses: there is never a reason to carry a knife,” Khan tweeted in April. “Anyone who does will be caught, and they will feel the full force of the law.”
No excuses: there is never a reason to carry a knife. Anyone who does will be caught, and they will feel the full force of the law. https://t.co/XILUvIFLOW
— Mayor of London (@MayorofLondon) April 8, 2018
For years, authorities in the UK have been working to reduce knife crime by ridding the streets of pointed objects.
The Metropolitan Police launched “Operation Spectre” in 2015 to conduct weapon sweeps that seek to dispose of all manners of pointed objects, including scissors, screwdrivers and files throughout London.
— Regents Park Police (@MPSRegentsPark) March 16, 2018
— Hackney Police – Central East BCU (@MPSHackney) July 13, 2017
— Metropolitan Police (@metpoliceuk) July 23, 2015
The Metropolitan Police has carried out 5,791 weapon sweeps under “Operation Spectre” since 2015, resulting in 2,294 arrests and the removal of 1,435 weapons from the streets of London. The operation is ongoing.
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