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Answer

There are three categories of offensive weapons:

1. Items that are made for the purpose of causing injury and have no other practical purpose in the normal world (and are offensive weapons per se) -

    • Examples are flick knives, daggers, knuckledusters , butterfly knives, sword sticks, truncheons , and bayonets.

2. Items that are adapted or altered in some way for the purpose of causing injury -

    • Examples are sharpened screwdrivers, smashing a bottle to make the broken end into a weapon for causing injury, or stout dowelling with Stanley blades in the end.

3. Items that are not specifically made or adapted to cause injury but are carried for that purpose -

    • Examples are a hammer, cricket ball, baseball bat, scissors, razor, a stone, pick axe handle etc.

Almost any item can be considered to be an offensive weapon if the person carrying the item intends to use it to cause injury.

Whether an item is an offensive weapon is a question of facts for a jury, based on the full facts of the case.

It is an offence for any person who without lawful authority or reasonable excuse has with them in any public place, any offensive weapon. It is also an offence to possess (including in private) any offensive weapon as outlined in category 1, i.e. those that are made for the purpose of causing injury.

Where a particular knife is not deemed to be an offensive weapon, be aware that there is also a specific offence of having a bladed article in a public place. Please see Q337 for further information.


Answer

If the vehicle is blocking access to your driveway you should first make enquiries with the neighbours to see if they know who the car belongs to, so they can move it.

In most areas local councils have now taken on responsibility for enforcing parking provisions under what is known as Civil Parking Enforcement (CPE). Under CPE, it's an offence to park a vehicle that blocks a dropped kerb driveway. You can check if your local council has taken on CPE via the link below:

GOV.UK - CPE list

If your council has taken on CPE, you will usually need to report vehicles that are obstructing a dropped kerb directly to them – you can contact them via the link below:

GOV.UK - find your local council

If your local council hasn't taken on CPE, you will need to contact your local police force.

The police/council policy for dealing with such matters may vary between forces/councils. Some police forces may only attend if your car has been blocked in and you cannot get out.


Answer

If a person sends threatening/abusive/offensive messages to another person via Facebook, Twitter, or any other social networking site, they could be committing an offence. The most relevant offences are 'harassment' and 'malicious communications. The offence of 'stalking' may also be relevant if a person is being targeted persistently by someone across various social media accounts, along with any other repeated, obsessive and intrusive behaviour, that causes the person alarm and distress. See Q151 and the links in Related Information for further details.

For harassment to be committed, there must be a 'course of conduct' (i.e. two or more related occurrences). The messages do not necessarily have to be violent in nature, but must be oppressive and need to have caused some alarm or distress. See Q497 for further information regarding this offence.

If there has only been a single communication, which would be insufficient for the offence of harassment (above), there could be an offence relating to malicious communications. For such an offence to be committed, a message must be sent to another person (or sent via a public communications network) that is indecent, grossly offensive, obscene or threatening/menacing.

You can report any possible offences to your local police force, who will advise whether they can progress the matter based on the full facts and your individual situation. In order to assist the police with their investigation, you must not respond to the message as it may encourage the sender and make the situation worse. Also, you could take a screenshot of the message so if it gets deleted later there will still be a record of what was said.

However, depending on the circumstances and the nature of the messages, you may wish to initially make a report to Facebook/Twitter etc., as they have processes in place for such situations, and may be able to simply remove the content and/or close down the person's account.

Please see the links in Related Information for Facebook and Twitter's Community Guidelines in relation to dealing with harassment.

Contact your local police force

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