Figures published by London Trading Standards show children as young as 13 continue to be sold knives across the capital. It is illegal to sell knives to anyone under 18.
The first day of London Trading Standards Week which runs until this Friday is focused on reducing the number of knives sold to children. The key message is helping prevent people being killed through knife crime - writes newsroomsutton.co.uk.
So far this year, 315 spot checks have been carried out by 18 London Trading Standards departments and the Metropolitan Police, using child volunteers between the ages of 12 and 17.
The vast majority of shops visited refused to sell, but 50 sales were made, and a variety of knives and bladed articles, including kitchen knives, utility knives, razor blades and cleavers were sold to children.
Last year 725 test purchases were carried out, resulting in 96 sales – a compliance rate of 87% compared to this year’s rate so far (from January to September 2017) of 84%. However, it is difficult to accurately compare the figures at this stage.
Trading Standards Officers carried out the test purchasing as part of the crime prevention element of ‘Operation Sceptre’. This Metropolitan Police initiative is aimed at reducing knife crime and reducing the number families affected by knife crime.
This work will continue, as 93% of London Trading Standards departments report that knives will be on their test purchasing lists, into 2018.
London Trading Standards are now working to support more responsible retailing of knives and 69% of boroughs have a local knife crime action plan or strategy. Initiatives include a number of boroughs introducing, or refreshing, local partnership schemes. These encourage knife retailers to adopt a ‘challenge 25’ policy, as well as taking the practical steps of keeping knives behind the counter, or in secure cabinets, so that staff can control sales more easily and the opportunity for theft is reduced.
The aim of London Trading Standards Week is to promote and raise awareness about the wide range of work carried out by Trading Standards Services across London. Further details can be found on the website www.londontradingstandards.org.uk
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