A great number of news on the rising knife crime rate have made rounds in the media. A recent BBC investigation revealed that major stores in the UK, Tesco, and Argos to name a few, have been selling knives to 16-year-olds without demanding ID checks. For the investigation, a 16-year old actress brought a kitchen knife from a store. It was thus revealed that Tesco and Argos have not been abiding by the law. Furthermore, the E-commerce giant, Amazon also delivered a set of four knives to the actress into her hands. A visit to five different branches of Tesco, Argos, TK Maxx, Asda and Wilko became the survey radius of the investigation.
The teenage actress could buy a knife in three of five Tesco stores, while she could purchase a knife in one of the Argos store without examination of ID. It was also found out that no other branches of Asda, neither of Wilko and TK Maxx sold knives to 16 year olds. Reports suggest, that all the retailers have committed to check ID of suspects before selling or delivering knives to them. The voluntary code does not permit sale of knives without ID check to persons either under 21 or 25.
Statistical data reveals, knife crime in England and Wales has risen to record levels in 2018. The police have allegedly recorded 40,829 offences involving knives or sharp instruments in 2018, which is up by 6% in comparison to the year before. The Office for National Statistics revealed an increase of 12% in cases of murder and manslaughter excluding terror attacks. A total of 732 killings, which went up from 655 in 2017 was the highest since 2007.
The investigation also brought to light that Tesco stores lacked effective training programmes for staff. A statement by the spokesperson for London Trading Standards said that the results only highlighted “a systematic issue about Tesco.” The BBC investigation published the results to the stores in question and the companies allegedly promised to take measures to prevent the sale in the future. Following reactions were recorded:
Tesco: “The responsible sale of knives is something we take very seriously and so we are disappointed to learn of the results of Watchdog’s tests and we apologize for this.”
Argos: “Clear responsibilities as a retailer and operated a strict “Think 25 policy” our colleagues are trained to enforce”. It is also looking into why the process was not followed here.
Amazon: “Drivers undergo training in age verification delivery, regular audits monitor compliance and if drivers fail to follow our guidelines they will face action which can include no longer delivering orders to our customers.”