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The truth about Scouts and knives

Never before has the saying "never let the truth get in the way of a good story" been true than the current media coverage about Scouts banning knives. We haven't and I thought you might appreciate a quick heads up before we circulate a more detailed response.

A Mail on Sunday journalist approached us on Friday having read the latest guidance we issued in Scouting Magazine/online in December 08 and April 09 on advising Scouts on the situations in which they can use a knife as part of normal Scout Activities. He was looking to make the story into "Scouts Ban knives shocker". The media team took them through the facts and sent them links to our various documents and magazine articles giving him the following info,
- The Rules changed about wearing knives with uniform in 1968
- We have issued regular guidance to the Movement on this matter ever since 1968 e.g. early 1980's , 1996, 2008 and 2009 (the latest being the magazine article in April/May)
- We need to support leaders with information to help them support young people 
Despite making these facts available the Mail on Sunday published the piece, They used a few selective statements and quotes some out of context..

A number of newspapers this morning (Times, Telegraph, Express, Mirror, Sun) have taken the text from the Mail on Sunday (without talking to us) and have run with the story.
We are busy taking all the opportunities today to put the record straight via broadcast opportunities.
Hope this explanation helps reassure you.

More detailed update now available at:


More about my great Scouting xperiences over the last 4 days a little later,





By Andrew Cooke
on 07/09/2009 11:46

Wayne, Typical newspapers really.
I heard this on the radio and thought "that doesnt sound right" So really appreciate your speedy blog entry keeping us all uptodate - Thank you

By Chris
on 07/09/2009 11:47

Thanks for setting the record straight, Wayne! Maybe the press will pay a little more attention to the truth ext time they write a story about Scouting!

By Phill
on 07/09/2009 12:13

I am redirecting this as and where it crops up that people believe the nonsense that was printed and attributed to Dave. Dave must be livid with this, I hope it gets cleared up and set straight as soon as possible, it seems the general public are buying into theis crock!

By Bill Stewart
on 08/09/2009 03:10

This as come across the pond to the States via the internet. I, having been a Scout leader here in the US for almost 20 years, am very happy to see that this is not true. Please let us know of the full statement so that we can publish it here in the US to refute any reports that show up on the Internet here.

By Stephen Muirhead, Air Scout Leader
on 08/09/2009 13:40

I am sure we are all feed up with the Media twisting stories and information to address their own agendas, Why not turn this manufacturing of stories into an opportunity to develop our young people’s life skills. Run a base on the truth and reliability of stories in the news, we could look at how papers pick up and run without checking and where the get the validity of the information they use?

By Dr Dave Hutchinson
on 08/09/2009 14:22

Wayne - I wish I had seen your blog a couple of days ago. I was rung by a journalist from the Yorkshire Post yesterday and asked to comment on the Scouts ban penknives story. I have been a leader in Scouting for over 30 years and hold the bar to the Silver Acorn. I was district commissioner in Antrim and District, Northern Ireland for 7 years. I couldn't believe it when I was told that the Scout Association had banned scouts carrying pen knives to camp.

Yours in Scouting
Dr Dave Hutchinson GI4FUM/EI4DJ/3DA0DJ
Radio Scouting UK

By Dan Weaver
on 08/09/2009 15:55

As usual, the press blow this out of all proportion. Why do they have to be so unreasonable? I'm absolutely appalled, and not for the first time either.

The most annoying thing is that we are largely powerless to do anything. Wayne's blog and the news article, both by way of a response to this ridiculous mess, hit the nail on the end and do a good job of putting people right. However, I fear that these messages simply won't reach enough people to make a difference - through no fault of our own, but because people take what they read in the newspapers as fact. Of course, we should all be able to! Unfortunately, the reality is we can't always.

In fact, even some adult volunteers within Scouting have incorrectly been persuaded by the media that there is a ban on knives; quite understandably leading to a very negative reaction by those people. Of course, however, they have no reason to be worried because the media are wrong!

It annoys me as well that certain media outlets are still going on referring to us as "Boy Scouts" and making other similarly inaccurate comments. I'm appalled by the media because they too often show a complete lack of interest in accurate, properly researched, unbiased reporting. These latest articles have proved that, yet again.

Dan, a very annoyed Scouter from Derby

By Paul Austin
on 08/09/2009 17:09

1, who said that the only thing you can belive in a Paper is the date?

2, Lets turn this on its head and make it a requirement to carry a knife at all times but first you have earn that right through a number of skills and apptitued tests. It might show joe public that most young people are trust worthy, honest and hard working. Unlike the immage the papers want us to belive.

Well done Wayne

By Andrew Gadd
on 09/09/2009 09:17

Every time I've ever read a 'story' in a 'newspaper' of which I know something about the subject, the paper ALWAYS gets the facts wrong.
This has lead me to believe that the facts of virtually all the articles they publish must be inaccurate.
I just don't read papers anymore....

By Kevin Nicholas
on 09/09/2009 21:41

I agree with Andrew I have found the same problem regarding the media.
I to don't buy newspapers as most of the information contained within is biased rubbish designed only to sell the paper.

By Simon huntley
on 10/09/2009 14:35

We have initiated an ID licence for all scouts who pass their Knife and Axe. They are checked every 6 months to update training and it can be endorsed or, in the worst case revoked, for inappropriate behaviour.
The Parents are reassured that we are handling the situation regarding knives seriously and the Scouts love the idea of an "official" licence being earned before they are allowed to undertake certain tasks.

Simon Huntley
Scout Leader
1st Hayes Scouts
Hayes and Harlington District

By Lesley Bordoli
on 10/09/2009 22:27

This is so typical of the media but the damage has now been caused. Will you be setting the record straight in the papers also? I do hope so

By Jim McMullan
on 13/09/2009 22:19

Having been a pre 1968 scout with a 6" sheath knife stuffed down my sock, which came in very handy on many occasions in camping situations, we were always advised to 'keep it secure and only take it out when required for valid reason". There was never a problem country-wide. Very sad to see the press sink so low as to 'ink and not think'. At this rate the lads will end up eating with their fingers at camps! Oh strewth! Most of them do already!

By brian Foulkes
on 15/09/2009 08:22

I had an Austalian friend who said he didn't read newspapers on the basis that he would rather be 'uninformed' than 'misinformed'
This article in the Mail shows how right he was.

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