News story

Government and major retailers unite to tackle knife crime

Home Secretary Theresa May announces agreement of principles between major retailers and the government to tackle knife crime.

Home Secretary Theresa May
Home Secretary Theresa May

Tesco, Lidl UK, Amazon UK, Wilko, Argos, Morrisons, Asda, Poundland, Sainsbury’s, John Lewis, and Waitrose have committed to regular staff training, safely displaying and securely packaging knives, raising public awareness of age restrictions, and robust age verification checks for knife sales whether in-store, or if ordered online, at point of collection or delivery. It has been supported by the British Retail Consortium. Ebay UK and Amazon have also made important commitments for their respective marketplaces.

The announcement of the voluntary agreement with retailers was made as part of the second day of the Home Office’s International Crime and Policing Conference in London, where the Home Secretary also launched the government’s first modern crime prevention strategy.

The voluntary principles include a commitment for law enforcement to conduct follow-up test purchases of knives in 6 months and to provide feedback to retailers to take action to tackle breaches of the law. The government will work with the British Retail Consortium to extend this agreement to other retailers.

The agreement follows a knife crime roundtable with a number of major retailers held last week chaired by the Home Secretary.

Home Secretary Theresa May said:

Knife crime has a devastating impact on victims, families and communities, and I am determined to do all I can to prevent it.

Retailers have a vital role to play in this fight and I welcome today’s commitment.

Knives have no place on our streets.

The modern crime prevention strategy is structured around the 6 drivers of crime (PNG, 174KB) - opportunity, character, the effectiveness of the Criminal Justice System, profit, drugs and alcohol - and contains proposals to make crime harder to commit in certain situations or in relation to certain products, and less profitable for criminals.

A chapter on each of the drivers sets out what the evidence shows and what action the Home Office and other partners, including other Government departments, law enforcement agencies, the public and voluntary sector, are taking to prevent crime.

Government work currently underway includes:

  • legislating to ban so-called ‘zombie-killer’ knives

  • a new drug strategy being published in 2016, which will set out how we will prevent and tackle drug misuse

  • publishing a buyer’s guide for mobile devices, which sets out the cyber security features to look out for when purchasing or using smartphones and tablets

  • a Steering Group on Forecourt Crime to prevent fuel theft and other crime on garage forecourts

  • publishing information about where alcohol-related crime and disorder is occurring on

Published 23 March 2016