As part of Operation Sceptre, a national week of action designed to challenge and reduce the threat of knife crime across the country, a joint operation to carry out underage test purchases of knives has been carried out by Derby City Council Trading Standards and Derbyshire Police.

To test a retailer’s procedures in preventing a sale of a knife to a child, we asked underage volunteers to carry out a test purchase of a knife to see if shops challenge them and refuse the sale.

11 shops were tested by our volunteers and none of the shops sold a knife to a child.  This is a great result and shows that earlier work in engaging and working with retailers is paying off and protecting children. One of the retailers actually mentioned that they were previously warned for the underage sale of a knife and so quite rightly did not sell on this occasion.

Trading Standards and Derbyshire Police 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.

In the first instance retail shops are offered help and advice to ensure that their procedures are robust to prevent sales of age restricted products being made to a child, such as knives.  Most products are for over 18’s only.  We promote a Challenge 25 policy to help check the ID of a person to ensure that they are in fact over 18 years.

Some shops asked for ID but some shops asked the age of the volunteer.  The likelihood is that a child will lie about their age so retailers should always ask for ID and check that the ID is genuine.

We have a No ID No Sale retailer pack available to businesses and various leaflets and templates for a business to use.

Councillor Jonathan Smale, Cabinet Member for Communities, Neighbourhoods and Streetpride said:

“I’m very happy that we’ve had such a positive result during this operation but we can’t be complacent. We must continue working to educate retailers as well as working with young people on the dangers of knife crime.

“Having the Knife Angel in Derby in October gives us a great opportunity to further engage with the community to help combat this growing problem.

I’d like to thank all those involved from Trading Standards and welcome the continued partnership work with Derbyshire Police. It’s vital we continue working together for the good of the city.”

Inspector Richard Keene, who is in charge of Derbyshire police’s response to knife crime, said:

“We were only too pleased to work with Derby City Council’s Trading Standards as part of Operation Sceptre.

“For the last four years we have worked with our partners on Project Zao to try and reduce knife crime in Derbyshire. Part of this project has been to visit retailers and remind them of their responsibility not to sell bladed articles to those under 18.

“It is particularly pleasing that it seems that this message has been understood and complied with by the retailers of Derby.

“Knife crime still continues to rise in Derbyshire (up 7% this year), as it does in other parts of the country but we are determined to keep working hard to reduce this type of violent crime.”

Anyone wishing to report an underage sale can do this in confidence to Trading Standards via the Citizens Advice Consumer helpline on 03454 040506 and any business wanting advice can also use that number.

The Knife Angel sculpture is in Derby from the Thursday 3rd October outside the Derby Cathedral.