Weapon restriction in Europe may hold household goods
YOKOTA AIR BASE, Japan -- Recently base legal offices in the United Kingdom have seen a trend that some military members who are making a permanent change of station to the UK are having property seized from their household goods.
The items seized are mainly various types of knives and swords that UK Immigration deems to be prohibited by definition. In these cases it is up to the owner to prove that the said goods are not prohibited, and in virtually all cases, the owner is unable to do so and the items have been duly forfeited and subsequently destroyed.
"Europe, specifically, the UK, has very restrictive knife laws and service members are no exemption from these laws," said Capt. Anthony Threatts, 374th Airlift Wing Assistant Staff Judge Advocate. "These laws regulate the maximum length of knives, number of edges and so on."
Military members throughout their careers will PCS to many places around the world and on many occasions, when leaving their base for another assignment, will be given a gift to remind them of their posting. These gifts on occasions can be knives, swords, or sabers of various descriptions, many of which are defined as prohibited weapons in not only the UK, but other countries throughout Europe. These items, although not of a high value, may be of sentimental value and it would be a shame to lose these items.
How can this seizure be prevented?
"In order to avoid potential loss of PCS gifts, consult the base legal office at the next duty assignment," advises Threatts.
Do not have the item shipped to the UK in the household goods. Recently, UK Border & Immigration clearly stated that it is very rare for an item to be returned to the owner or sent back out of the country. Instead, it is destroyed.
The UK has a very long list of weapons that they deem to be a prohibited weapon. If the item is seized as a prohibited weapon, it is up to the owner to prove that it is not. Again, the success stories in making such a case to UK Border and Immigration are slim to none.
Originally reported by Paul Kyberd, Base Legal Office, Royal Air Force Station Croughton.