Knives: Crime

Home Office written question – answered on 8th March 2017.

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Photo of Lord Ouseley Lord Ouseley Crossbench

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether any new initiatives are planned to deal with knife crime.

Photo of Baroness Williams of Trafford Baroness Williams of Trafford The Minister of State, Home Department

Tackling knife crime is a priority for the Government. The Government’s Modern Crime Prevention Strategy published in March 2016 set out a range of measures to strengthen our response to knife crime. Since then we have delivered on our commitment to ban the sale, manufacture and importation of zombie knives and to extend our work with retailers to prevent the underage sale of knives.

We have agreed a set of commitments with major retailers to prevent the underage sales of knives more generally in their stores and online. The agreement also covers staff training and displays and packaging. Tesco, Lidl UK, Amazon UK, Wilko, Argos, Asda, Poundland, Morrisons, Sainsbury’s, John Lewis and Waitrose have all signed up to the principles. They have since been joined by Boots, the Co-op, B&Q, Aldi and TKMaxx.

Raising awareness of the risks and consequences of carrying a knife is an important part of our knife crime prevention approach. We are working closely with organisations such as Redthread and St Giles, who intervene with young people at the “teachable moment”.

We also support Operation Sceptre, which are police led national coordinated weeks of action to tackle knife crime. In October 2016, 21 police forces across the country took part in the operation which included targeting habitual knife carriers, weapon sweeps, test purchases of knives from identified retailers, and the use of surrender bins. Further operations are being planned for 2017.

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