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£1million given to Councils for knife test purchasing

The Offensive Weapons Act has now received Royal Assent, which means it shouldn’t be long before it is law.

With the Local Government Association (LGA) saying that in some areas 60% of shops are selling knives illegally, it is time for retailers to sharpen up their policies and staff training.

The government has given £1million to Councils for test purchasing purposes, for both online and in store, so retailers should be prepared to be checked and have systems in place to prevent sales of knives to under 18s. Bira recommends a Challenge 25 system – like that used for the sale of alcohol.

One of the biggest changes that will be coming in, that retailers need to be aware of is that knives bought online will only be able to be delivered to over 18’s via a courier that offers age verification.

Andrew Goodacre, CEO of Bira said: “We fully support responsible retailing of knives. These new regulations require two things- one is enforcement, especially where there is a perceived high risk. Secondly, the education of retailers and consumers is vital, not only in terms of knowing their obligations but also on the best way to enforce them.

“Bira has been and will continue to work with the Home Office to improve communications to retailers, to ensure they are fully aware of their responsibilities.

“We also believe that manufacturers play an important role in providing suitable packaging and labelling, that clearly shows the restrictions on the purchase of knives and other bladed items.”

*** Please be aware that we reported in the July/August Bira membership magazine that this is already law. This is not the case, however it shouldn’t be long before it is, so we still recommend being prepared, especially if you take online orders, as it is still against the law to sell a knife to someone under the age of 18. ***