New crackdown on knife sales


Home secretary Jacqui Smith has launched a new crackdown on selling knives to young people, but warned there was “not one easy quick way” to tackle the problem to solving knife crime.

Over 20 retailers have signed up to the campaign which will involve new signs warning proof of age will be required if buyers look under 18.

The campaign will be running in supermarkets and other retailers with the message: “We are working in partnership with the Home Office to prevent the sale of knives to under 18s”.

Ms Smith said at the lunch of the new scheme: “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.”

Liberal Democrat home affairs spokesman Chris Huhne said: “Crackdowns and campaigns are useless if no one checks whether shops are actually selling knives to children.”

Stephen Robertson, director general of the British Retail Consortium, said retailers took their responsibility for preventing underage 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,” he said.

Ms Smith also today announced new powers to prevent gang-related violence will be introduced in the policing and crime bill.

The proposed new injunction would enable a court to impose a range of restrictions or requirements on an individual such as not entering a specified place, not being with named members of a gang, not using the internet to encourage or facilitate violence, and not wearing particular clothing that prevents identification or associated with gang colours.