Royal mail
Royal mail

Royal Mail and Parcelforce knife policy update

From 7 May, Royal Mail and Parcelforce will prohibit the carriage of some types of knives. However, they will continue to accept knives that can be used for hobbies and trades, says Conor O’Gorman.

In February, Royal Mail announced that it would be banning the carriage of knives and other bladed items across its delivery network. There were rumours that Parcelforce would follow suit.

However, in March, following a challenge from BASC and retailers, Royal Mail had a rethink and decided that the ban would be replaced with more targeted restrictions.

Then in April, Parcelforce announced that it was bringing restrictions from 7 May and these mirror the Royal Mail policy change.

Therefore, from 7 May, Royal Mail and Parcelforce will continue to carry “any knife or knife blade, including cutlery knives, bread knives, knives that can be used for hobbies and trades (for instance, utility knives and snap-off cutters, gardening, camping, lock knives, bushcraft and farming tools with a blade or any other trade tool that could commonly be described as a knife), butcher knives (including meat cleavers), felling axes and razor blades”.

Prohibited items will be: “hunting/ combat/survival type knives, daggers, movie knives (such as Rambo or Crocodile Dundee style knives), replica fighting knives (such as Bowie knives), throwing knives, machetes, swords, fantasy knives, knives with images or words that suggest use for violence, stiletto knives, battle axes, open razors/ folding razors and any similar items”.

I have kept in communication with several knife retailers and Royal Mail and Parcelforce during these policy developments. We have also issued updates in Shooting Times, Gun Trade News and by email to BASC trade members. 

Concern from retailers

Retailers are concerned about the vague definitions that could leave them open to their deliveries being randomly stopped by postal staff, resulting in unfair penalties and dissatisfied customers.

A key issue is what is meant by “hunting” knife in the prohibited list. BASC has asked Royal Mail to drop the word “hunting” from the prohibited list. They have informed us that this will be considered if the policy is reviewed, and that if we are made aware of incidents whereby a butcher’s knife is miscategorised as a hunting knife by Royal Mail staff, to let them know.

These are major changes from 7 May so please be patient with retailers processing your online knife orders if you choose Royal Mail or Parcelforce as the postage option should any issues arise.

If BASC trade members encounter problems with either Royal Mail or Parcelforce, please email and we will highlight this with them.

Click here for Royal Mail terms and conditions.

Click here for Parcelforce terms and conditions.