Trading Standards officers from the Public Protection Partnership have been supporting Thames Valley Police in Bracknell and Newbury during this year's National Knife Crime Awareness Week, from 11 to 17 March 2019.
Underage volunteers, working with the Public Protection Partnership’s Trading Standards team and Thames Valley Police, were able to buy knives from four shops - three in Bracknell and one in Newbury - out of a total of 26 visited. Three of the retailers did not have knives on site and the rest asked for ID and then did not proceed with a sale. This exercise follows a previous series of test purchase operations carried out in Bracknell and Newbury over the last six months where six shops sold knives to underage volunteers out of 23 premises tested.
Damian James, Chairman of the Public Protection Joint Management Board, said: “It is illegal to sell a knife or similar product to anyone under 18 years of age and best practice is for the retailer to adopt a recognised age verification system such as Challenge 21 or Challenge 25. The police will now be working with the retailers who sold the knives to ensure this does not happen again. Retailers of all sizes need to ensure their employee training policies are thorough and robust with regard to responsible knife sales.”
The Public Protection Partnership’s Trading Standards team is working with Thames Valley Police with its campaign to reduce knife crime. Any Bracknell Forest, West Berkshire or Wokingham Borough resident who has concerns about the sale of knives to young people, or any other trading standards or public protection matter, should contact the service on 01635 519930 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.