Our work to tackle knife crime is centred on four key strands – working with the police on operations and enforcement, work on legislative framework, work with retailers on responsible sales, and early intervention and prevention.
We are encouraging police forces to undertake a series of coordinated national weeks of action to tackle knife crime under Operation Sceptre. The operation includes targeting habitual knife carriers, weapon sweeps, test purchases of knives from identified retailers, and the use of surrender bins. A record thirty-two police forces took part in the week of action in July.
We have also 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.
We are keeping the legislative framework under review and on 14 October we launched a consultation on new legislation on offensive weapons. The proposals include placing restrictions on the online sale of knives, creating a new offence of possession of an offensive or dangerous weapon in a private place, and updating existing legislation. We have also just launched a £500,000 community fund to help community and voluntary sector organisations respond to knife crime, and we are supporting youth violence intervention and prevention work in hospital emergency departments. We are also intending to have national media campaign shortly aimed at discouraging young people from carrying knives.