Eight shops in Southampton have been caught by police selling knives to children. The Neighbourhood Policing Team and City Council Trading Standards carried out 21 test-purchase operations at several retailers across the city. Out of the 21 stores tested, eight failed by selling knives to a person under 18. The was part of Operation Sceptre, a police campaign to take knives off the streets, educate people about the dangers and reduce knife crime in the city.
Two kitchen knives were sold to a police cadet in one store whilst another sold a six piece kitchen knife set without challenging the age of the buyer.
Three stores in the city centre failed. One of which had been tested three times and failed three times.
In 2016 80% of stores failed the tests. That fell to 12% in February 2017.
Southampton Central Sergeant Charlie Ilderton said: “These results are less positive than our previous tests in February however they are still an improvement on the results in 2016. We continue to work with these stores and staff to raise awareness about knife crime and ensure retail responsibility and compliance is upheld. However, it is disappointing eight stores still failed, two of which had failed a number of times before and had staff previously attend a police and Trading Standards awareness course. Correct procedures must be practiced to prevent young people from easily obtaining knives and potentially putting their lives, or the lives of others, at risk."