Delyn MP and Justice Minister David Hanson has joined with major retailers in Flintshire and the police as part of a new national campaign to further crack down on knife crime.
As part of the Government’s action plan to target the illegal purchase of knives by under-18s, Justice Minister David Hanson will today visit Tesco’s in Holywell (at 14:30) to see how retailers can play an important part in driving down knife crime.
David Hanson said:
“One of the first steps to stopping dangerous weapons like knives getting on to our streets is to stop underage buyers having access to them. Having such a wide range of key retailers in Flintshire and across North Wales sign up to this action plan is another major step forward in our nationwide drive to crackdown on knife crime.”
In a new campaign that will be running in supermarkets and other retailers, new signs will be displayed in product aisles where knives are sold and at point of sale to explain that proof of age will be required if the buyer appears to be under 18.
Retailers have also signed up to a six point commitment to:
- provide training and support to staff on the sale of knives, and keep a register of completion of training;
- clearly display to the public signs stating that knives are not for sale to under-18s;
- ensure that display and storage of knives minimises the risk of theft;
- ensure till prompts are in place to remind staff at the point of sale;
- enhance safeguards on internet sales to address attempted underage sale of knives; and
- monitor attempted underage sales and share information with local police and other partners.
Home Secretary Jacqui Smith said:
“I am very pleased that so many leading high street retailers are joining forces to say no to knife crime. This reinforces our message to anyone who is tempted to break the law.
“We are determined to stamp out knife crime and get weapons off our streets. Everyone – government, police, communities and businesses – has a role to play in tackling knife crime. Combined with tough laws and proactive policing, I hope this new campaign will help save lives and make our streets safer.”
The Home Secretary unveiled the campaign at an Asda store in south London, where she was accompanied by DAC Alf Hitchcock, Head of the Tackling Knives Action Programme and a representative from Asda.
Stephen Robertson, Director General of the British Retail Consortium said:
“Retailers take their responsibility for preventing under aged knife sales very seriously. Our members have voluntarily pioneered initiatives to challenge customers whose age is in doubt to produce accredited identification to prove they’re over 18. If they can’t, they are not sold knives.
“Retailers have signed the six point commitment as a public demonstration of their determination to prevent under 18’s buying knives.”
Alf Hitchcock, Association of Chief Police Officers lead on knife crime and Deputy Assistant Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police said:
“Tackling knife crime is not just a policing issue but one for society as a whole. It requires each and every one of us to ask what we can do to help, that’s parents, neighbours, agencies and business.
“The commitment outlined today by the major high street retailers is a real step forward in our drive to tackle knife crime.
“By ensuring there are enhanced safeguards in place to address the underage sale of knives and by working with the police service to share information, we can build on the work already underway to tackle this problem.
“Police forces along with crime reduction partnerships are determined to get knives off our streets and will continue to tackle those irresponsible shop keepers who knowingly sell knives to young people in the full knowledge that these may then go on to be used as weapons.”
The Government has provided £3.4 million to the ten Tackling Knives Action Programme (TKAP) areas to provide extra reassurance and safety to young people in and around school.
Since March 2008 the Government has provided 350 search wands and 100 search arches to police forces across England and Wales, supplemented by an additional 700 arches and wands to the ten TKAP forces. In the TKAP areas there were over 150,000 stop and searches, resulting in the recovery over 3,400 knives between June and December 2008.
NOTES TO EDITORS
1. The retailers which have signed up to the six point commitment include Tesco, Sainsburys, Asda, Morrisons, Waitrose, Aldi, Lidl, Marks and Spencer, Home Retail Group (Argos and Homebase), TK Maxx, Wilkinsons, House of Fraser, John Lewis, Debenhams, BHS, B&Q, Ikea, Matalan, Poundstretcher, Co-op and Amazon.
2. Members of the British Retail Consortium can be found at:http://www.brc.org.uk/downloads/List_of_BRC_Members.pdf
3. To ensure knives are not sold to under-18s online, Asda and John Lewis have also taken the step to remove all knives excluding cutlery sets from their online shopping sites.
4. To tackle knife crime the Government has: doubled the maximum sentence for carrying a knife in public from two to four years; increase the use of stop and search; increased the amount of test purchasing operations for knives; give teachers new powers to search for knives at school; raise the age at which you can buy a knife from 16 to 18; issue parents with a gangs leaflet for parents on how to spot if their child is in a gang; fund after school patrols; launch a £3 million advertising campaign aimed at mothers who are concerned their child is carrying a knife; and extend the expectation to prosecute.
5. For copies of the posters we have supplied retailers with please call the Home Office press office newsdesk on 020 7035 3535. Please contact the Ministry of Justice Press Office on 020 3334 3527 for more information.
6. All retailers have the flexibility to adapt the signs to match their corporate branding.