PLT Masthead 430

Masthead Local Govt - Licensing

Test Valley LSM Large Banner 600x100 v2

One in four teenage mystery shoppers "able to buy knives without age checks"

One in four teenage mystery shoppers were able to buy knives from high street retailers in 2017 without proof of age being requested, a leading retail age check company has said.

Serve Legal said it undertook 2,350 knife sale visits across the UK last year and 26% of sales went unchallenged.

“This comes despite the fact that prominent retailers have signed the government’s voluntary agreement on underage knife sales,” the company said.

It pointed out that selling a knife, blade or axe to a person under the age of 18 years is illegal in England and Wales, while in Scotland the law allows those aged 16 and over to buy kitchen knives.

All young people attempting to buy a knife should be asked to show official identification such as a passport, photocard driving licence or PASS-accredited (Proof of Age Standards Scheme) identification, Serve Legal said.

The company said the percentage of underage knife sales that went without challenge was highest among homeware and DIY stores, at 41%. It was lower at supermarkets, at 21%.

London had the highest pass rate at 82%, which Serve Legal suggested was a likely outcome of the Metropolitan Police’s anti knife crime programme, Operation Sceptre.

Serve Legal said alcohol sale test pass rates have been higher than 80% over the last five years.

Ed Heaver, Director of Serve Legal, said: “Against a backdrop of rising knife crime, news headlines about school-age victims and perpetrators are shockingly frequent. Our latest retail test data reveals that despite the principles of the government’s voluntary agreement on underage sales, which many retailers have agreed to adhere to, complacency on the high street could well be contributing to a deadly societal problem, with knives being sold to young people in plain sight.

“The fact that so many high street retailers and their staff are prepared to take the risk of putting deadly weapons into the hands of young people is proof that the threat of a fine and six months’ imprisonment if convicted is not a punitive deterrent. A review of penalties for underage knife sales is well overdue and should be part of the Home Office’s new Serious Violence Strategy, with tougher penalties for any retailer not able to demonstrate the requisite due diligence if they fail a local authority or police knife test.”

The company also revealed that in 1,600 online test sales of age-restricted goods - including knives - last year, 59% of its mystery shoppers were handed age-restricted goods on the doorstep unchallenged.

“The test purchase pass rate for online retailers has been falling since 2014 and their commitment to testing is extremely low,” it claimed..

Archive

Search more than 10,000 articles

Newsletter Subscription

* indicates required
Choose Newsletter(s) (tick all that apply)
 

Featured Events

Fixed term tenancies - Cornerstone Barristers

London

CPD Hours3 FeeEarly Bird offer £30+VAT (Until 1st October) / Standard Ticket £40 +VAT VenueCornerstone Barristers, 2-3 Gray's Inn Square, London, WC1R 5JH More details to follow...
→ View listing
Business Rates Mitigation - Excel Civil Enforcement

Distance Learning

Cost: Free (registration required). This webinar is designed to facilitate learning and discussion around rates avoidance strategies and how local authorities can deal with the various avoidance techniques. We will cover: What constitutes rates avoida...
→ View listing
Succession & assignment of tenancies - Cornerstone Barristers

London

CPD Hours3 FeeEarly Bird offer £30+VAT (Until 1st August) / Standard Ticket £40 +VAT VenueCornerstone Barristers, 2-3 Gray's Inn Square, London, WC1R 5JH More details to follow...
→ View listing
HB Editorial Services Ltd 2016.