News / Slider / March 23, 2016

Victory in campaign for safer selling of knives

Following Nicola’s support for Gulsen Alkan’s campaign to urge retailers to sell knives safely, the Home Secretary has announced a series of measures agreed by major retailers to tackle knife crime.

Nicola has been working with the widow of Justin Skrebowski who was murdered in Poundland in Abingdon in December to launch a petition urging retailers to display knives more safely in shops, and to get the backing of the Home Office to enforce this. You can see the action Nicola has been taking here.

Gulsen’s petition received more than 52,000 signatures and has now seen success as the Home Secretary has announced that major retail companies, including Poundland, Tesco, Lidl, Argos and many others, have now agreed formal measures for the safer selling of knives in stores.

This follows Gulsen’s visit to Parliament where she met with Home Office Minister Karen Bradley MP to make her case, and a roundtable discussion held by the Home Secretary with online and high street retailers to stress the importance of their responsibility in preventing knife crime. The Home Secretary threw her weight behind Gulsen’s campaign, emphasising that retailers have an important role to play in preventing knife crime.

Measures now announced include a commitment for law enforcement to conduct follow-up test purchases of knives in 6 months and to provide feedback to retailers to take action to tackle breaches of the law. The government will work with the British Retail Consortium to extend this agreement to other retailers.

The key principles are:

  1.  Retailers will apply their policies for age restricted sales such as think 21 or challenge 25 to ensure age verification checks take place and knives will only be sold (or supplied) once they are satisfied the customer is 18 or over. This will include proof of age checks for in-store sales, collection or point of delivery situations.
  2. Action to be taken in-store and online to remind customers and staff that knives are age restricted products. This means that knives will only be sold (or supplied) once age verification to think 21 or challenge 25 has taken place. Supervisory support to be provided where appropriate.
  3. Retailers will ensure knives are displayed and packaged securely as appropriate to minimise risk. This will include retailers taking practical and proportionate action to restrict accessibility and avoid immediate use, reduce the possibility of injury, and prevent theft.
  4. All staff selling or approving sales of knives will be provided with training, with that training being refreshed at least once every year. This includes all staff involved in the sales transaction up to and including delivery.

Home Secretary Theresa May says,

Knife crime has a devastating impact on victims, families and communities, and I am determined to do all I can to prevent it. Retailers have a vital role to play in this fight and I welcome today’s commitment. Knives have no place on our streets.

Nicola says,

Gulsen and everyone who has signed her petition should feel proud that they have successfully persuaded the Home Office to act on this.

The safe display and sale of knives in shops is crucial, and the message of the Home Secretary’s announcement today is that retailers have to step up to the responsibility they have in preventing knife crime.

Gulsen Alkan, Justin’s widow said,

Throughout this dreadful time I have not wanted revenge but rather the certain knowledge that no family should ever have to go through what my family has gone through.

I cannot say that this makes me happy because I wish so very much that it had never happened and that Justin was with me and our twins now but it is the only thing that has brought me peace.


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