Officials express disappointment as major Derby city centre retailers fail knife purchase test.

One of our senior police officers and a Derby city councillor have expressed disappointment as several city centre stores failed a knife purchasing test last weekend.

On Saturday, November 18, our officers joined forces with Derby City Council Trading Standards to test whether stores in the city centre would sell a knife to a child under 18.

The operation was part of Project Zao, an initiative that aims to discourage young people in Derbyshire from carrying knives. A small group of children aged between 13-16 years of age, supported by the officers, attempted to buy a knife from several stores in the city centre and in five of the 11 visits a knife was sold to the young person.

Chief Inspector Malc Bibbings from Derbyshire police, said: “As part of Project Zao we have been working with retailers to remind them of their legal responsibility not to sell knives to children under 18.

“This part of the project saw us working with Derby City Council to test whether the advice is being adhered to and it is certainly disappointing to find that several of our major retailers have not followed the guidance and potentially broken the law in relation to knife sales.

“All of the stores, who we are not naming at this stage, have now been re-visited and strong words of advice passed, along with a promise that they will be tested again and if the situation is repeated legal action will be taken.”

Cllr Asaf Afzal, Cabinet Member for Neighbourhoods and Public Protection said : “Operations like this are an important reminder to retailers of their responsibilities. We will continue to work closely with the Police to ensure that our city is a safe as possible for our children and young people.”

It is an offence to sell a knife, knife blade, razor, axe or other article which has a blade or is sharply pointed to anyone under 18.

If you have any concerns about knifes being sold or would like some advice please contact your local Safer Neighbourhood team on 101 or send them a message online by visiting the Contact Us section of our website

You can also anonymously contact the independent charity Crimestoppers, on 0800 555 111 or by visiting