Housewares stockists are being urged to ‘ASSESS-CHALLENGE-CHECK’ the age of buyers in-store and online. A new ‘toolkit’ (launched this week) is aimed at supporting independent shops in particular with their training and understanding of the laws surrounding knife sales.
The ‘toolkit’ comprises a good practice guide and a set of online retailer training animation and is accompanied by the new Responsible Retailer Agreement (RRA) on knife sales.
The Metropolitan police, Mayor’s Office for Police and Crime (MOPAC) and London Trading Standards (LTS) – which represents 33 local authorities in London – launched the new RRA and guide this week.
The RRA urges retailers and their staff to: understand the basic requirements for the safe storage of knives, to follow the ASSESS-CHALLENGE-CHECK process for selling age-restricted goods, and to know when and how to contact police with suspicions of knife crime or where staff feel threatened by customers.
Trading standards officers and police officers aim to visit all London retailers that sell knives to encourage them to sign up to the agreement.
The new short training modules are designed for everyone involved in the sale or delivery of knives including managers, retail staff and delivery drivers. To take part in these, go to https://nbcc.police.uk/knifeguidance
The RRA’s launch event highlighted recent figures showing that 160 knives were sold to volunteers as young as 13 last year in London boroughs’ trading standards test purchase operations. One in nine stores made an underage sale and two in five online retailers.
It also highlighted the steeply rising numbers of knife crime offences recorded in London. Sophie Linden, deputy mayor for policing and crime, said:“Knives have no place on the streets of London.t’s simply unacceptable that teenagers as young as 13 are able to buy knives – this is why it is vital that retailers comply with the law and stop knives from getting into the hands of young Londoners.”
London Councils’ executive member for crime and public protection Cllr Jas Athwal, said: “Knife crime and youth violence represent a serious challenge to London. The Responsible Retailers Agreement is an important step forward. The government must now make sure London boroughs’ trading standards teams have the resources we need to carry out checks on retailers and help enforce the law.”
Commander Mark McEwan of the Metropolitan Police said of the new toolkit for retailers: “These resources will help us to mobilise our partners in the business community to tackle the complex issue of knife crime.” He added: “We urge businesses across London to sign up and play their part in preventing violent crime.”
Meanwhile, commissioner Ian Dyson of the City of London Police and National Police Chiefs’ Council lead for Business Crime acknowledged that: “Many retailers work in the community in which they live – these resources will help them to take an active part in protecting their communities by making sure that knives don’t get into the wrong hands.”
However, LTS has warned that without new government funding, trading standards services do not have the capacity to enforce the new Offensive Weapons Act 2019, which deals with the banning the delivery of online purchased knives and corrosives to under 18s.
Top: New guidelines aim to stop knives getting into the hands of teenagers.