Knives: Retail Trade

Home Office written question – answered on 14th October 2020.

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Photo of Andrew Slaughter Andrew Slaughter Labour, Hammersmith

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, pursuant to the Answer of 10 September 2020 to Question 85969 on Knives, what steps the Government is taking to work with retailers to promote the responsible sales of knives.

Photo of Kit Malthouse Kit Malthouse The Minister of State, Home Department

The Government has agreed a set of voluntary commitments with major retailers to promote the responsible sale of knives and to prevent the sale of knives to under-18s, both in stores and online. The agreement commits retailers to having robust measures in place to ensure age verification and both appropriate display and access to knives in stores.

Retailers also act to ensure customers and staff are reminded that knives are age restricted products and that all staff receive regular training. Since March 2016, 19 major retailed have joined the agreement, with some stopping the sale of single knives in their stores altogether. We are continuing to work with retailers to strengthen the agreement further in relation to the display of knives.

The Offensive Weapons Act 2019 strengthens the law in relation to the preventing the online sale of knives to under 18s by requiring age verification and stopping knives being sent to residential addresses after they are bought online, unless the seller has arrangements in place with the delivery company to ensure that the product would not be delivered into the hands of a person under 18.

We have paused commencement of some of the Act’s provisions due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the social distancing measures that have been in place to avoid placing significant additional burdens on businesses and delivery companies to modify their sales and delivery systems and train staff over this period. We are keeping the position under review and we expect to be able to commence the provisions at the earliest opportunity.

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