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

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

About the Author
Brian Sims BA (Hons) Hon FSyI, Editor, Risk UK (Pro-Activ Publications) Beginning his career in professional journalism at The Builder Group in March 1992, Brian was appointed Editor of Security Management Today in November 2000 having spent eight years in engineering journalism across two titles: Building Services Journal and Light & Lighting. In 2005, Brian received the BSIA Chairman’s Award for Promoting The Security Industry and, a year later, the Skills for Security Special Award for an Outstanding Contribution to the Security Business Sector. In 2008, Brian was The Security Institute’s nomination for the Association of Security Consultants’ highly prestigious Imbert Prize and, in 2013, was a nominated finalist for the Institute's George van Schalkwyk Award. An Honorary Fellow of The Security Institute, Brian serves as a Judge for the BSIA’s Security Personnel of the Year Awards and the Securitas Good Customer Award. Between 2008 and 2014, Brian pioneered the use of digital media across the security sector, including webinars and Audio Shows. Brian’s actively involved in 50-plus security groups on LinkedIn and hosts the popular Risk UK Twitter site. Brian is a frequent speaker on the conference circuit. He has organised and chaired conference programmes for both IFSEC International and ASIS International and has been published in the national media. Brian was appointed Editor of Risk UK at Pro-Activ Publications in July 2014 and as Editor of The Paper (Pro-Activ Publications' dedicated business newspaper for security professionals) in September 2015. Brian was appointed Editor of Risk Xtra at Pro-Activ Publications in May 2018.

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