“Rising knife crime is causing horrendous destruction and grief in our communities and councils are uncovering some shocking cases of illegal knife sales which risk fuelling this tragic epidemic. Retailers must ask for proof of age if they suspect the buyer is under 25."
Responding to Office for National Statistics figures published today showing a record high in knife crime offences in 2018/19 in England and Wales, Cllr Simon Blackburn, Chair of the LGA’s Safer and Stronger Communities Board, said:
“Rising knife crime is causing horrendous destruction and grief in our communities and councils are uncovering some shocking cases of illegal knife sales which risk fuelling this tragic epidemic. Retailers must ask for proof of age if they suspect the buyer is under 25.
“The Prosecutions Fund announced in the Serious Violence Strategy has helped some councils prosecute retailers for blatant breaches of knife sale laws.
“However, given the knife crime epidemic, the significant cuts to trading standards budgets and the extra enforcement activity needed in light of the Offensive Weapons Act, this Fund needs urgent further investment and extending to many more councils to tackle illegal knife sales and help protect people from harm
Notes to editors
- The Prosecutions Fund – part of the Government’s Serious Violence Strategy – was made available to 11 councils (including five London Boroughs) for extra in-store test purchases and for a national online test purchase operation. Of 100 online test purchases from UK knife sellers, 41 per cent were sold illegally to under-18s.
- The LGA has found that as many as six in 10 retailers have sold knives to under-18s in some council areas in test purchase operations.
- Office for National Statistics figures published today shows there has been an eight per cent increase in police recorded offences involving a knife or sharp instrument in 2018/19 (to 43,516 offences)
- Councils in England face an overall funding gap of £8 billion by 2025. The LGA’s #CouncilsCan campaign calls on the new Prime Minister to ensure the forthcoming Spending Review secures the future of vital local services and the long-term financial sustainability of councils. Visit our campaign page for more information.
#CouncilsCan: Spending Review 2019
With the right funding and powers, councils can continue to lead local areas, improve residents’ lives, reduce demand for public services and save money for the taxpayer. Securing the financial sustainability of local services must be the top priority for the Spending Review.