Home News Government and prominent retailers unite in bid to tackle scourge of knife crime across the UK

Government and prominent retailers unite in bid to tackle scourge of knife crime across the UK

by Brian Sims

Home Secretary Theresa May has announced an agreement of principles between major retailers and the Government designed to tackle knife crime.

Tesco, Lidl UK, Amazon UK, Wilko, Argos, Morrisons, Asda, Poundland, Sainsbury’s, John Lewis and Waitrose have committed to regular staff training, safely displaying and securely packaging knives, raising public awareness of age restrictions and introducing – and then policing – robust age verification checks for knife sales in-store or, if ordered online, at the point of collection or delivery.

This move has been supported by the British Retail Consortium (BRC), while eBay UK and Amazon UK have also made important commitments for their respective marketplaces.

The announcement of the voluntary agreement with retailers was made as part of the second day of the Home Office’s International Crime and Policing Conference in London, where the Home Secretary also launched the Government’s first Modern Crime Prevention Strategy.

The voluntary principles include a commitment for law enforcement to conduct follow-up test purchases of knives in six months and provide feedback for retailers such that they can take action on tackling any breaches of the law. The Government will work with the BRC to extend this agreement to other retailers.

The agreement follows a knife crime Round Table discussion with a number of major retailers held last week and chaired by the Home Secretary.

Devastating impact on victims

Home Secretary Theresa May said: “Knife crime has a devastating impact on victims, families and communities, and I’m determined to do all I can to prevent it. Retailers have a vital role to play in this fight, and I welcome the new commitment. Knives have no place on our streets.”

Theresa May

Theresa May

The Modern Crime Prevention Strategy is structured around the six drivers of crime – opportunity, character, the effectiveness of the Criminal Justice System, profit, drugs and alcohol – and contains proposals to make crime harder to commit in certain situations or in relation to certain products, and also less profitable for the criminals themselves.

A chapter on each of the drivers sets out what the evidence shows and what action the Home Office and other partners – including other Government departments, law enforcement agencies, the public and the voluntary sector – are taking to prevent crime.

Government work currently underway includes:

*legislating to ban so-called ‘zombie killer’ knives

*a new Anti-Drug Crime Strategy being published this year, which will set out how the Government plans to actively prevent and tackle drug misuse

*publishing a Buyer’s Guide for Mobile Devices which runs through the cyber security features to look out for when purchasing or using smart phones and tablets

*a Steering Group on forecourt crime designed to prevent fuel theft and other crime on garage forecourts

*publishing information about where alcohol-related crime and disorder is occurring on police.uk

Read the full statement issued by the BRC

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