The legislative progress of the Offensive Weapons Act was discussed by The British Home Enhancement Trade Association (BHETA)’s responsible knife retailing steering group in a recent meeting with the Metropolitan Police’s Business Care Hub. The meeting also addressed proactive police and trading standards initiatives in respect of the legitimate retail of bladed items.
The draft Offensive Weapons Act (OWA) legislation is now expected to be implemented from April 2021 – although ministerial sign off is still outstanding and the date could be pushed back again due to Covid-19.
Attendees from BHETA’s steering group included Sainsbury’s Michael Harris, Ephy Dobbyn-Scott and Gurjit Najran, Lakeland’s Kathryn Farrell, Alistair Fisher, director of Taylors Eye Witness, Michelle Dickinson, md of Burton McCall, John Wright, operations director of Robert Welch Designs and Richard Carr, md of Amefa. Stephen Simpson of the Business Crime Reduction Hub Partnership, Engagement & Crime Prevention chaired the meeting.
Home Office funding has been secured by the police in summer 2020 to produce educational animations surrounding the OWA and the implications for retailers, couriers and the public, in the style of https://nbcc.police.uk/knifeguidance. The police are keen to hear retailer feedback during development.
Outstanding questions regarding the OWA (based on feedback from retailers and suppliers) include the technicalities of implementation around couriers and proof of delivery during Covid-19. The Met has offered to hold monthly meetings and updates with interested parties in the run up to the implementation of the OWA.
BHETA’s consultative steering group consists of leading retailers and suppliers of bladed items, including John Lewis & Partners, Sainsbury’s, Asda, Dunelm, T K Maxx, Morleys Group, Harts of Stur, Taylor’s Eye Witness, Amefa, Fiskars, Meyer, Haus, Burton McCall, Kuhn Rikon, The Rayware Group and Robert Welch Designs. BHETA has been working with Scotland Yard on the issue of safe retailing of knives since summer 2019.
Top: New Scotland Yard – the hq of the Metropolitan Police.