In recent years, shops are being urged to check the age of consumers as part of an initiative to stop illegal, underage knife sales. The initiative arises as Metropolitan Police figures show that the number of knife crime offences recorded in London alone reached almost 15,000 in 2018/2019 – a worryingly increase of more than 5,000 since 2015/2016.
London Trading Standards (LTS), which represents 33 local authorities in London, is joined by the Deputy Mayor of London and the Metropolitan Police for the launch of the Responsible Retailer Agreement (RRA) on knife sales. The RRA comes as new figures show that 160 knives were sold to teenage mystery shopper as young as 13 years old last year, with 1 in 9 stores making an underage sale.
In 2018, a mystery shopper survey showed results that 1 in 5 teenagers buying knives were not asked to produce ID. Over 4,000 teenagers took part across a number of stores. Findings showed that a big 26% of mystery shoppers were not asked for ID at homeware stores, while 15% successfully bought a knife without their age being verified at supermarkets. Although the numbers of shoppers not being checked remained high during the survey, the most recent figures are an improvement on the previous years:
As a society, we want to prevent children becoming dependent on tobacco because it harms their health and leads to anti-social behaviour. It is illegal to sell these products to anyone under the age of 18 years. Trading standards and the police can enforce these laws. Nicotine is a poison - a tiny amount is considered to be a potentially lethal dose for an adult. Significantly less can kill a child. There is a specific risk of death to young children who come into contact with 'e-liquids' containing nicotine, and certain warning labels must be present and containers must be child resistant.
In 2017, an online survey was sent out to all councils undertaking tobacco control activities in England (151 councils in total). Of all councils in England, 84% had undertaken activities related to underage sales of tobacco products and 74% had undertaken activities related to underage sales of nicotine inhaling products (NIPs). The results of this survey showed that: