A scheme run by Croydon Council’s trading standards team has won praise from the Mayor of London for its pro-active approach to combating knife crime.
Sadiq Khan’s just-published The London Knife Crime Strategy outlines a comprehensive plan of action to tackle what he describes as “the immediate threat to safety posed by knife crime in London”.
Among the proposed measures are the intention to offer knife detectors to all the capital’s secondary schools, and to ensure tough penalties are imposed on irresponsible traders who flout the law by selling knives to under-age customers, making the streets less safe.
Croydon Council, with partner organisations including the police and voluntary sector, is currently working up an action plan to tackle serious youth violence, including knife crime. Activities will include enforcement, community engagement, education and prevention, and diverting people who are at risk of becoming victims or perpetrators.
The plan will encompass existing measures, such as trading standards’ ongoing checking of traders, and the free course it runs offering businesses and their staff instruction on the laws surrounding under-age sales of goods including knives and blades.
It was the trading standards’ team’s approach in engaging with the borough’s traders that won the Mayor’s approval.
Referring to the department’s Do You Pass? initiative, the 80-page report says:
Good practice – supporting responsible retailing
Croydon trading standards offers free-of-charge accredited trader training sessions to small and medium-sized businesses in order to help them be more aware of their responsibilities in relation to the sale of age-restricted products, including knives, to young people.
Retailers receive a personal invitation by way of a visit from a trading standards officer, which is followed up by a letter confirming their place on the course. The course lasts for two and a half hours with an exam at the end.
Retailers are also asked to sign up to the Responsible Retailer Agreement, agreeing to the safe and responsible packaging, display and sale of knives.
Councillor Hamida Ali, cabinet member for communities, safety and justice
“Knife crime is on the rise in London and we must do all we can to keep potentially lethal knives out of the hands of those young people who feel compelled to carry them.”
“I’m really pleased to see the work of our trading standards officers recognised in this way by the Mayor of London – it’s a real testament to the work they do, day in and day out.
“They have a leading reputation in London for their work in tackling knife crime and are to be congratulated for their approach to this very real problem by ensuring traders meet their obligations to the communities they serve.”
Traders keen to take part in forthcoming Do You Pass? training sessions can get further information at www.tradingstandards.uk/local-authority-services/age-restricted-sales-do-you-pass
Space is limited, so be sure to book early. The next sessions are on:
• Tuesday 11 July – 10am to 12.45pm; 1.15 to 4pm.
• Wednesday 18 October – 10am to 12.45pm; and 1.15 to 4pm.
• Wednesday 31 January – 10am to 12.45pm; and 1.15 to 4pm.
As indicated, the sessions run for approximately 2 hours 45 minutes, and include a 30-minute multiple-choice exam. These courses are offered free of charge and are available only to small or medium-sized Croydon-based businesses.
The sessions will also feature a short presentation, unique to the borough, from Public Health Croydon entitled Protecting children and young people – everyone’s business.