Royal Mail rows back on knife ban

Royal Mail has shelved plans to impose a blanket ban on the carriage of knives which would have unfairly penalised the shooting community and hundreds of small businesses across the country.

The British Association for Shooting and Conservation (BASC) wrote to Royal Mail’s chief executive pointing out that the ban would severely impact retailers across the UK that rely on online orders for knives. BASC urged a rethink, given that Royal Mail will continue to deliver other age-restricted items, such as alcohol, and had failed to offer any clear explanation for imposing an outright ban.

BASC followed this up with a letter to Business Secretary Kemi Badenoch, asking her to intervene.

Despite initially stating that this was ‘a business decision’ and ‘not open to discussion’, Royal Mail has now explained that following feedback, from 7 May there will be a list of prohibited bladed items that it will not carry and a list of restricted bladed items that can still be sent using its Age Verification service.

BASC’s head of policy and campaigns Dr Conor O’Gorman said: “While this is welcome news, the devil is always in the detail.

“The initial feedback we have received from retailers and trade members on the restrictions due to take effect are that the definitions are too vague and leave them open to their deliveries being randomly stopped by postal staff with little training, which could result in unfair penalties.

“BASC will continue to press Royal Mail for further clarity – we would like to find an agreeable outcome that meets the needs of retailers in our sector that abide by the law on the sale and safe delivery of knives.”