The Home Office is urging police and trading standards officers to lead the crackdown on the illegal sale of knives to under-18s.
Home Office minister Vernon Coaker has written to local authorities and police forces in England and Wales, asking them to supervise the government’s Tackling Knives Action Programme.
Under the programme, teenagers will be sent on undercover visits to ensure knife retailers are complying with the law.
Coaker said: “Knife crime is a complex issue, which we all need to work together to solve. Enforcement action is one part of the solution and that is why I am today calling on our partners in the police and trading standards to get tough with anyone illegally selling knives to under-18s.”
Geoffrey Theobald, chair of Lacors, the Local Authorities Co-ordinators of Regulatory Services, said recent test-purchasing operations across the country showed most retailers were responsible and asked for ID where they suspected a person was under 18.
But he added: “Unfortunately there are clearly still a minority who are prepared to profit by selling knives to children.”
Last year the government raised the minimum age for buying a knife from 16 to 18, while in May it launched a £3m advertising programme warning young people of the consequences of knife crime.
Teenagers lead the government’s campaign against knife crime, It Doesn’t Have to Happen