Police ramp up work with businesses to prevent sale of knives to under 18s

Sussex Police is ramping up its work with local businesses to prevent the sale of knives to under 18s as part of our ongoing commitment to tackle knife crime and serious violence. 

Officers are carrying out test purchase operations to engage with retailers on the Challenge 25 policy, which is challenging those who look under the age of 25 trying to purchase a knife.

Retailers have an important role to play, by helping to ensure that weapons are not falling into the wrong hands. It is illegal to sell a knife to anyone under the age of 18, and anyone found carrying a knife in public, without a reasonable excuse, faces serious legal consequences.

Alongside partners such as Trading Standards, we are working with retailers across Sussex to ensure robust controls on the sale of blades, such as kitchen knives, to help them get this right.

Sergeant Elizabeth Reschwamm said: "We are determined to get knives off our streets and keep Sussex a safe place to live. 

"In addition to our campaign to engage and educate the public on the dangers of knife possession, we are working closely with retailers to prevent knives falling into the hands of young people. 

"We all have a part to play in reducing knife crime and keeping the public safe and we would urge anyone with information or concerns to report it to us so we can take action."

How we are helping businesses to challenge those who look under 25

We have created materials specific for use in Sussex including:

  • A guide for businesses on good practice on selling and storing knives
  • Stickers to be placed where knives are sold to remind customers they will need to show ID
  • Two posters – one for customers and one for staff.

From April 1 2020 – March 31 2021 we carried out 464 test purchases which resulted in 138 intelligence logs. 124 of those test purchases were successful.

Where test purchases failed, officers provide support with retailers by meeting with retail managers to ensure relevant training is in place, and carry out further test purchases to test compliance.   

What to do if you’re worried

If you are under 18, you feel threatened, unsafe or scared about becoming a victim of knife crime you should try to talk with your parent or carer, or alternatively talk to Childline for help on 0800 1111 or go online at childline.org.uk.

If you are a parent or carer and you are concerned someone you care for is in danger of becoming a victim of knife crime, try to talk with them in the first instance or seek advice from Family Lives on 0808 800 22 22.

Whether you are a parent or young person you can contact Sussex Police on 101 to speak with your local Prevention Team.

Who do I report knife crime to?

You can report knife crime online or by calling 101. In an emergency always call 999.

To report knife crime anonymously click here

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