Delivery of bladed products to residential premises etc

Part of Offensive Weapons Bill – in the House of Commons at 3:11 pm on 26th March 2019.

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Photo of Victoria Atkins Victoria Atkins The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department, Minister for Women 3:11 pm, 26th March 2019

Yes, and I thank my hon. Friend, who has been particularly persistent about locking away bladed products or sharp knives. We absolutely keep that point under review. We have had a good response from the retail industry thus far, but we will of course keep the pressure up, and I am extremely grateful to him for his contribution to that.

Liability under our amendments in lieu attaches only to companies that enter into arrangements to deliver bladed products. A delivery company could choose simply not to do so. Our amendments therefore provide the flexibility that the hon. Member for Sheffield South East described, so that if a seller does not enter into an arrangement with a delivery company, the provisions in the Bill that prohibit delivery to residential premises of a bladed product will still apply. A seller in those circumstances will not be able to send a bladed product to residential premises and the product will have to be collected in person at a collection point, which at least gives small and medium-sized businesses the choice over how to conduct their business. We believe that these amendments will help to address the concern behind the Bill and achieve the aim of stopping young people and those under 18 having access to these products through online sales when they should not have such access. I very much hope that our amendment will meet the approval of the House.

Let me turn to knife crime prevention orders. It is vital that the police have the powers they need to prevent knife crime and to protect the public from the devastating effects of violent crime on our streets. It is frankly already too late when we prosecute young people for knife crime. If measures are available that might help to steer children and young people away from carrying or using a knife, we should not hesitate to put them in place. That is why the Government have introduced, in short order, knife crime prevention orders in the Bill. The police made that request of us at the very end of summer last year, and we were pleased to insert the provision into the Bill in the House of Lords. These are civil orders aimed at young people at risk of engaging in knife crime, people whom the police call habitual knife carriers of any age and those who have been convicted of a violent offence or an offence involving knives.