Published: Monday, 5th November 2018

The Royal Borough is calling on retailers to sign up to the Council's knife retail charter after two stores were caught selling knives to under age children.

Trading Standards were out with Greenwich Volunteer Police Cadets (GVPC) in a covert operation to crack down on underage sales of alcohol, knives and fireworks when two of the volunteers, aged 13 and 14, purchased a knife unchallenged. The retailer is now under investigation.

Operation Sceptre

This follows an earlier investigation by the Royal Borough's Trading Standards and the Metropolitan Police which has brought about a major change in the way one major retailer sells knives.

The retailer, which cannot be named for legal reasons because of a binding agreement reached with the Council, was snared after selling knives to children during Operation Sceptre, a Metropolitan Police London-wide initiative to tackle knife crime. Two teenagers aged 13 and 16, enlisted as part of Operation Sceptre, bought a large kitchen knife without being asked their age or proof of identification. It's illegal to sell knives to anyone under the age of 18 and most retailers in the borough operate a Challenge 25 policy.

The retailer has now pledged to ensure that staff are fully trained and the company will carry out its own test purchases, as well as use pricing stickers and till prompts to highlight the checks that should be made. The retailer has signed a legal undertaking to tighten up its procedures across all of its stores in the UK to ensure that children cannot buy age-restricted products like knives. Trading Standards is also assisting the retailer on further safety measures.

'Zero tolerance approach to illegal sale of knives'

Cllr Jackie Smith, Cabinet Member for Community Safety and Integrated Enforcement, said: "We take a zero tolerance approach to the illegal sales of knives and other bladed items to youngsters.

"The Council has a multi-faceted knife crime action plan and one area is a knife retail charter which many retailers in the borough have signed up to. The shocking rise of knife crime and tragic loss of young lives across London means we have to work extra hard to reduce the risk to young people. Shops have to be vigilant to prevent potential weapons falling into the hands of youngsters."

Businesses interested in signing the Royal Borough of Greenwich knife retail charter can email