Priti Patel orders review of crossbow laws as 19-year-old man remains in custody

Priti Patel has ordered a review into crossbow laws after a 19-year-old man was arrested for allegedly carrying one in the grounds of Windsor Castle on Christmas Day.

The Home Secretary has instructed her department to look into ways to “strengthen controls” on the weapons.

At present, crossbows are legal in the UK and no licence or registration is required to own them as they are not legally classed as firearms.

But under separate laws people can be prosecuted for using crossbows for illegal hunting or for attacking people.

A crossbow, like bats and knives, can also be classed as an “offensive weapon” if carried in public and lead to prosecution.

The Crossbows Act 1987 states they cannot be bought or sold in England, Wales or Scotland by or to those under 18. A separate law makes the same provision in Northern Ireland.

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A Home Office spokesperson said: “Crossbows are subject to controls and legislation is in place to deal with those who use them as a weapon.

“At the Home Secretary’s request, we are considering options to strengthen controls on crossbows.

“Work on this has been ongoing throughout the year, and we keep all relevant laws under review to maintain public safety.”

Ms Patel’s intervention comes hours after a 19-year-old man, from Southampton, was arrested “within moments” of entering the grounds of the Berkshire castle, where the Queen spent Christmas.

The Metropolitan Police said the man, who did not enter any buildings, was arrested on suspicion of breach or trespass of a protected site and possession of an offensive weapon.

He remains in custody and has been sectioned under the Mental Health Act, the force added.

The suspect’s father reportedly told MailOnline on Monday: “Something’s gone horribly wrong with our son and we are trying to figure out what.

“We’ve not had a chance to speak to him but are trying to get him the help he needs.

“From our perspective, we are going through a difficult time. We are trying to resolve this issue and it’s not easy.”

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