Police and Trading Standards join forces to test shops on under-age knife sales
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In Derby and South Derbyshire our Safer Neighbourhood teams have been working with Trading Standards officers from Derby City Council and Derbyshire County Council on a test-purchasing operation.
The action was taken last week (w/c 15 November) as part of Operation Sceptre, the national week of action to tackle knife crime.
To test a retailer’s procedures in preventing a sale of a knife to a child, we asked underage volunteers to carry out a test purchase of a knife to see if shops challenge them and refuse the sale.
In Derby, 11 shops were tested by our volunteers and only one of the shops sold a knife to a child whilst in South Derbyshire a total of seven shops were visited and at three of them a knife was sold to an under-age teenager.
Superintendent Sarah McAughtrie, who oversees our fight against knife crime, said: "The work done between Derbyshire Constabulary and the councils' Trading Standards is instrumental in ensuring our retailers are clear about the law in relation to knife sales.
“The recent operation is very reassuring that they are doing their bit in protecting children and young people from becoming involved in knife crime.
“Sadly statistics show that a person carrying a knife is more likely to become a victim of knife crime so it’s important we do all we can to educate children and prevent them from wanting to carry knives in the first place and this operation is a step in the right direction”.
In the first instance retail shops are offered help and advice to ensure that their procedures are robust to prevent sales of age restricted products being made to a child, such as knives. Most products are for over 18's only. We promote a Challenge 25 policy to help check the ID of a person to ensure that they are in fact over 18 years.
Derbyshire County Council Cabinet Member for Health and Communities, Councillor Carol Hart said: “We are committed to making Derbyshire an even safer place to live and we take underage sales of age-restricted products like knives very seriously.
“We are all aware of the often tragic consequences that can happen if knives fall into the wrong hands, and the law is in place to help stop that.
“Our trading standards officers work hard to advise and support traders and make sure they stay on the right side of the law, and working with the police on operations like this helps to reinforce the importance of being vigilant, following all the necessary checks and taking the responsibility of selling knives seriously.”
Cllr Jerry Pearce, Derby City Council Cabinet Member for Streetpride and Public Spaces said:
“I’d like to thank the Trading Standards team and Derbyshire Police for the vital work they do in keeping knives out of the hands of our youngsters. It is only by working closely together with our partners that we can deliver the best for the people of Derby.
“We must continue to educate, and where necessary prosecute, retailers so they are very clear on what the law says about selling knives to those under 18.”
Anyone wishing to report an underage sale can do this in confidence to Trading Standards via the Citizens Advice Consumer helpline on 03454 040506 and any business wanting advice can also use that number.