Police and Trading Standards team up to target underage knife sales

Published: 24 November 2022

Test purchases were carried out to check whether retailers would sell knives to underage customers

Derby City Council and Derbyshire Constabulary have carried out a joint operation to crack down on knife crime. The City Council’s Trading Standards officers joined police colleagues to carry out test purchases to check whether retailers would sell knives to underage customers.

The test purchases were part of Operation Sceptre, a week-long campaign to reduce the threat of knife crime across the country which takes place twice a year. Underage volunteers were asked to attempt to buy a knife to see if retailers challenged them and refused the sale.

Ten premises were tested during the week beginning November 14, none of which sold a knife to the volunteers. The positive result shows earlier work to engage and work with the city’s retailers has been effective.

Trading Standards and Derbyshire Constabulary have a duty to protect children and others from harm and the sale of knives to children is one aspect of reducing the threat of knife crime. Businesses are offered help and advice to ensure their procedures are robust enough to prevent underage sales of age-restricted products, such as knives.

Superintendent Sarah McAughtrie, Derbyshire Constabulary’s lead on knife crime, said:

Retailers have a key role to play in driving down knife crime in our county and I am really pleased to see the results from these random checks.

The damage that just one knife can do is absolutely horrendous – and that our shops are helping to keep knives out of the hands of young people is crucial. I am sure that retailers will continue this good work and keep helping to keep Derbyshire as safe as possible.

Councilor Jerry Pearce, Cabinet Member for Streetpride, Leisure and Public Spaces at Derby City Council, said:

We are committed to working with Derbyshire Constabulary to reduce knife crime. It is an ongoing threat to our communities, particularly our young people.

It is very encouraging to see none of the retailers involved in the test purchases sold knives to underage volunteers. This is a positive sign that the work already done with our city partners is proving effective.

We can continue to make a genuine difference in our communities with Operation Scepter and our other community programs.

Most age-restricted products are only for people over the age of 18. The Council’s Trading Standards team encourages retailers to use the Challenge 25 policy to check their ID to make sure they are over the age of 18.

We promote CitizenCard as a PASS accredited proof of age card. To check if the card is genuine make sure the hologram is present and under ultraviolet light the PASS logo runs across the card.

Anyone wishing to report an underage sale can do this in confidence to Trading Standards via the Citizens Advice Consumer Helpline on 0808 223 1133 and any business wanting advice can also use this number.

If you have concerns about the sale, use, or threat of knives in the community please report this to Derbyshire Constabulary by using any of the following methods:

Send a private message to the Derbyshire Constabulary Facebook page

Direct message the contact center on Twitter at @DerPolContact

Complete the online contact form on the Derbyshire Constabulary website

Phone 101. Always call 999 in an emergency.

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